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Be proactive as the market changes

Lucas Deal November 7, 2013

There was good news in the dealer market this week as FTR Associates released its preliminary report on Class 8 truck orders in October and announced orders jumped up 39 percent from September.

FTR says the preliminary order number of 25,960 is 14 percent better than October 2012, and the best month for Class 8 truck orders since December 2011.

That’s a pretty staggering jump.

And, in even better news, FTR is predicting that more big months are ahead.

In releasing October’s information, FTR Vice President Don Ake says October’s early prediction meshes the company’s strong 2014 projections.

Truck sales always spike as the temperature drops — if buying a new truck was on a fleet’s horizon might as well do it before falling victim to winter maintenance woes — but October’s spike is even above normal fall averages. Ake says the jump is on the “high end” of FTR’s expectations.

I don’t have to tell you how significant this could be. While new truck registration numbers remain soft, a bulge in new truck orders provides optimism for a market shift.

Just two months ago I wrote a blog in this very space touting a used truck boom, and while it’s still out there, this week’s order news is the first significant sign that new trucks are tilting the scales.

I figure there could be any number of reasons for this, but the first two that come to mind are the budget flexibility and 2014 emissions rules. Fleets know new engines have to meet new Greenhouse Gas emission regulations and every OEM is already offering engines that comply; so if the budget allows for trades now, why wait?

The same goes for you.

Fleets may be getting back into buying mode. Don’t wait for them to show up at your door. Reach out. See if you can get them started on a new order today.

This year has been solid but underwhelming. Let’s make 2014 something better.

Lucas Deal is the editor of Truck Parts & Service and Successful Dealer. He can be reached at lucasdeal@randallreilly.com.

You can follow me on twitter at @lddeal85

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