In the medium-duty sector, the growth is fueled by sales of conventional-style cab straight trucks. They represent a “huge chunk” of the industry, Latin-Kasper said, and were selling at a rate of about 18,000 units a month at the end of 2011, or about half the rate at the peak in 2006.
“They won’t get back to 2006 levels, unless the market keeps growing at the current pace, until 2016-ish,” he said.
The light-duty commercial truck and equipment sector is growing but at a significantly slower rate, hampered by the ongoing slumps in housing and construction.
The good news is that construction is showing signs of life, Latin-Kasper said. “For the first time in four years, the construction industry will stop being a drag on truck sales and be a net positive.”
Another sector waiting to recover is government/public fleets. State, county, city and municipal governments buy a lot of trucks, Latin-Kasper noted, and sales had been falling since the recession began and tax revenues fell. With the economy recovering, government revenue — and spending for equipment — should increase, after deficits are paid off.