Business conditions ‘soft’ but stable

Jason Cannon

February 25, 2013

chart“Soft” market conditions have forced many owner-operators to turn in leased vehicles prematurely, Commercial Motor Vehicle Consulting (CMVC) CV Parts Aftermarket Leading Indicator (PLI) suggests. 

The PLI decreased slightly in January 2013 to 97.71 from 97.76 in December 2012, continuing a downward trend what began in August 2012.

The six month trend, the research and analysis firm says, implies that fleet business conditions have softened, while the PLI “appears to be stabilizing” and remains above the “critical” value of 95.

“Changes to fleet operations in response to weak fleet business conditions implies adjustments to truck capacity, such as temporary idling trucks, returning leased trucks pre-maturely, reducing truck capacity and other strategies that indirectly slow the rate of depreciation of the truck population resulting in lower parts aftermarket sales,”  CMVC president Chris Brady says.

According to CMVC, a figure above 95 implies truck utilization remains at relatively high levels resulting in normal depreciation of the truck population. 

Following a slight dip in Class 8 fleet capacity utilization during the spring and summer of 2012, fleet capacity utilization has recovered implying the truck population is depreciating at normal rates, Brady says. 

“Fleets have the capacity in place to meet moderate growth in freight volumes/business sales, so the truck population will remain relatively stable in the near term,” he adds. “The truck population has shrunk in response to lower freight volumes/business sales as a result of the recession and newer model trucks make up a smaller share of the population than before the recession…”

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