LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mack Trucks is glad 2009 is over, but more than that, the company is looking forward to 2010, Kevin Flaherty, the company’s senior vice president for the U.S. and Canada, told reporters during a news conference at the Mid-America Trucking Show Thursday afternoon.
“We’re glad it’s over, our dealers are glad it’s over, the industry is pleased it’s over,” Flaherty said. “It’s been a difficult year, but we’re looking forward to 2010.”
Mack is starting to feel that there is some bubbling of activity, Flaherty said, in the last 4-6 weeks, but he is going to hold off on a final prediction, Flaherty said.
“We’re concerned about a double dip in Wall Street, but we are starting to see orders come in,” Flaherty said. “Wall Street is starting to feel good and that’s a good indicator. And we’re starting to see more activity with some of our customers.”
Whether or not the industry could see a 20-30 percent growth in truck sales in 2010 was something he couldn’t predict, either, noting that some in the industry were forecasting a 10 percent growth.
“Personally I think as an industry we can grow toward that 20 percent mark,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty said he was certain about one thing: the industry could not survive the same type of activity that occurred prior to the switch to 2007 engine technology.
“We all agree the (OEM) industry learned a lot from that experience,” Flaherty said. “You just can’t go from selling 284,000 trucks in 2006 to about 150,000 trucks in 2007. We had fleets buying trucks and parking them, waiting to put them into service.”
It was in excess of 12 months before some of those trucks were put into service, he said.
“We’re out of that thinking,” Flaherty said. “Were not seeing that in 2010. It upsets the trade cycle for fleets.”
An improvement in used truck sales with partner Arrow Truck Co. is also a good sign that things are improving, Flaherty said.
“That means fleets are saying they need trucks,” he said. “They might be able to buy new, but they need trucks.”
Flaherty said it would take some time to get the 2007 technology through the system and get fleets thinking about 2010 technology.
He predicted that the concerns for DPF availability would vanish quickly.
“It’s not going to be an issue in six months,” he said.
On other points, Flaherty told reporters:
• Mack would make a concerted effort in the next year to improve market penetration of the Pinnacle highway tractor
• One of the reasons for continued success of Mack is the fact that its products are vertically integrated
• The company continues to be proud of the fact that its trucks are all built in the U.S., and
• Mack is the leading exporter of trucks to NAFTA countries.
“We export trucks, not jobs,” Flaherty said.
Lyndon Finney of The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at firstname.lastname@example.org.