Uptick Expected for Medium-Heavy Truck Sales in 2013

Research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan recently completed a study that forecasts the combined GDP of major commercial vehicle markets to grow at 3% to 3.5% this year, spurring medium-heavy truck sales growth of 4.3% in 2013.

The firm's report, ‘Strategic Outlook of the Global Medium-Heavy Commercial Truck Market in 2013,’ finds that platform-based truck production and advanced technology integration that encompasses powertrain, safety, telematics, and cabin design will experience significant growth in 2013.

‘Advanced technologies such as natural gas powertrains; integrated safety technologies; health, wellness and well-being enablers; and connectivity technologies are expected to receive a major boost globally,’ says Bharani Lakshminarasimhan, a Frost & Sullivan industry analyst.

According to Frost & Sullivan, ‘smarter’ commercial vehicle technologies will dominate the markets particularly in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. OEMs in North America and Europe will put their focus on ‘soft technologies,’ such as telematics, cabin design and safety technologies, while Asian OEMs will put a greater emphasis on creating fuel-efficient powertrain technologies that meet governmental regulations.

Overall, a slowdown in Europe and moderate expansion in truck demand in North America will be largely offset by robust growth in Next-11 and other Rest of World markets, resulting in global medium-heavy truck sales reaching 2.8 million this year.

‘Although the economy is expected to improve, there is cautious optimism amongst commercial vehicle OEMs in the TRIAD markets of North America, Europe and Japan,’ Lakshminarasimhan notes. ‘The research revealed that many of these OEMs will not only continue to focus greater efforts on the growing markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China, but also expand to the Next-11 and African markets, while introducing groundbreaking technologies in their home markets.’

Several Next-11 markets are likely to post nearly double-digit growth in new truck sales in 2013, according to the company. Of these, Indonesia and Turkey are forecast to double in size from 2012 to 2020, while Mexico is also set for long-term growth. Additionally, Russia will sustain the fast growth that was seen in 2012.

The net result of these trends will be a higher demand for medium-duty trucks relative to heavy-duty trucks, Frost & Sullivan says.

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