Sixty-five percent of the fleet executives that responded to the Q3 2013 Fleet Sentiment survey conducted by CK Commercial Vehicle Research in late July indicated they planned to place orders for Class 8 trucks in the next three months. This is an increase from the 53% that responded affirmatively during the Q2 survey in April.
The estimated size of those orders was down quarter-over-quarter but significantly higher year-over-year, 6.1% of participants' inventory in Q3 2013 vs. 1.4% in Q3 2012. Expected trailer order activity was down in Q3 quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year.
Overall the CKCVR Buying Index, which combines both planned tractor and trailer orders, calculated to 95.2 for Q3 2013, a 2% decline from Q2 results but a 9% improvement over the Q3 2012 reading.
Other highlights from the Q3 2013 Fleet Sentiment survey:
- The percentage of fleets that "need more equipment" to meet freight demand continues to grow.
- Average age for Class 8 vehicles for group responding is 5.2 years – trailers at 8.9 years.
- Overall environment at the fleets surveyed is good.
- Still few units are designated for added capacity although more individual fleets are adding some capacity.
- More than half of units operated by the group responding are reported to have an average length of haul of less than 500 miles.
A Special Supplement to the Fleet Sentiment Report indicates: few fleets expect equipment purchases to change because of new hours-of-service rules; most are skeptical of OEM claims of a better truck due to more vertical integration of components; and some movement away from the International brand due to engine issue. However price has lured some to the brand.
Forty eight fleets participated in the Q3 2013 Fleet Sentiment and Special Supplemental Report Survey. They operate in excess of 31,000 Class 8 trucks and 86,000 trailers. Responses were received between July 17 and July 26.