Auto Truck Group
A surge in year-end equipment orders got 2013 off to a good start for commercial truck and equipment manufacturers as aging vehicles begin to be replaced, but an uncertain economy, stubbornly high unemployment and continuing political discord in Washington, D.C., are combining to temper enthusiasm for strong growth this year, executives said.
“Buying decisions are based on future forecasts, and with the uncertainty out of Washington, [commercial customers] feel that things are still not that great,” said Mark Oldenburg, national fleet manager for Toyota. “They’re all still very cautious.”
“I’d guess you’d say I was cautiously optimistic,” said Jeff Messer, president of Messer Truck Equipment, an equipment distributor and upfitter in Westbrook, Maine. “The last couple of years, we’ve been bumping along. Not shrinking, but not going gangbusters, either. It’s been a slow and steady growth. But starting last August and September, we’ve seen renewed optimism from our commercial customers.”