Demand for Class 8 heavy trucks will increase just 3 percent this year, but shoot up more than 50 percent in 2011, research firm FTR Associates says.
New truck demand is being held down by a number of factors, including a slow recovery, the large overhang in underutilized and idle trucks and a new federal emissions mandate.
"Our forecast from February 2009 -- 13 turbulent months ago -- is being confirmed by current market conditions and remains unchanged," said Eric Starks, president of Nashville, Ind.-based FTR.
Demand is expected to increase significantly next year as the economic recovery strengthens and fleets retire older trucks.
"Everyone in the industry would have been glad to see improvement in demand before now, but our forecast models showed us that wasn't likely until 2011," he said.
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