Demand Analysis for Pre-Owned Heavy Trucks and Trailers in the United States

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is the trade association representing independent drivers that boasts a membership of almost 150,000 members. Membership has increased by 25% since January 2005. While every owner-operator is not a member of this organization, it provides an estimate of the number of truckers in this category that are traversing the roads of America everyday. While some independent owners may purchase new trucks, it is reasonable to assume that a significant number would start with a pre-owned vehicle. This information led the staff of on a research trek to determine the extent of the market for pre-owned heavy trucks and trailers.

The Trucker-to-Trucker staff has just completed an independent analysis of the US transportation economy and is releasing this information for the benefit of those in the trucking industry. This study focused on the factors that influence the annual demand that exists for pre-owned heavy trucks and trailers in the United States.

The analysis was commissioned by Trucker-to-Trucker to validate their business model, assess the current market demand and to make projections about the future trends in this area of the trucking industry. Industry reports, economic forecasts, statistical analyses, banking projections and anecdotal information was gathered and examined in-depth to determine the direction of the market for pre-owned vehicles. While nothing earth shaking was revealed, some insights into this arena were discovered that may make a difference to those considering the purchase of a heavy truck as well as for those that are in the process of fleet rotation.

This is a synopsis of the salient aspects of the report. Large well-established trucking companies and some owner-operators purchased a record number of heavy trucks in 2006, largely driven by current and pending EPA regulations affecting diesel fuel. Heavy truck manufacturers, as widely reported, will decrease production this year as a result of last years record sales. There is a current shortage of qualified drivers available to meet the industry demand which is forecast to continue for at least the next five years. The demand for heavy truck transportation is expected to rise buoyed by the increase in rail, air and sea transportation which place a concomitant demand on heavy trucking to pick up and deliver shipments.

The general overall economy is projected to experience at least moderate growth for the foreseeable future, although there may be periodic ups and downs. An analysis of employment figures indicated that job growth remains strong and unemployment is hovering around 4.5% and is expected to experience only small fluctuations. Housing and construction which have significant ramifications for the trucking industry experienced a downturn in 2006, but are expected to remain steady in 2007 and rebound in 2008. Inflation is below 3% and the federal reserve is not expected to increase interest rates. Fuel costs are critical for the trucking industry and are difficult for any economist to predict. The one certainty is that they are expected to rise. The demand for oil throughout the world coupled with political, economic, diplomatic and numerous other events and factors will continue to impact on the price and frankly left the Trucker-to-Trucker staff exhausted as they tried to assess what might happen. The good news is that the market is able to absorb the increased costs that are ultimately passed to the consumer.

The forecast points to a number of positives that exist. Opportunities are available. The aggressive and flexible independent owner can sustain growth and take advantage of a number of factors in their favor.

Pre-owned heavy trucks should be in abundance this year. Independent owners and operators can take advantage of the shortage of company drivers to secure additional business. Companies that have loads to move can take advantage of independent driver capabilities to meet the fluctuations in their business. Fleet owners that are rotating their inventory should recognize the opportunity to take advantage of this independent owner market and aggressively promote sales.

The implications of the study for TruckertoTrucker is that it validated our goal of providing an essential service to promote and serve the interests of the trucking community by providing a very frequently visited and popular outlet for fleet sales that appeals to large companies as well as individual owner- operators.

One can rest assured that will continue to monitor the market economy to provide value-added features for the benefit of its' customers and continue to work to insure our place of prominence in the industry.

Jim McCormack
Trucker To Trucker LLC


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