Report: pre-buying "clearly occurring" before Oct. 1 deadline

| 5/24/2002

Figures released May 22 by Bear Stearns, a banking, trading and brokerage firm, indicate pre-buying of Class 8 heavy-duty trucks and trailers continued in April, as the new emissions deadline of Oct. 1 approaches. The company said the continued strength in orders suggests some overbooking of the pre-mandate build plan may be occurring.

April production of Class 8 heavy-duty trucks rose 13.4 percent from March to 13,540 units, while trailer production increased 14.7 percent to 9,609 units. Gross tractor orders totaled about 30,000 in April, up 158 percent from one year ago. Net new tractor orders were up 171 percent from the same time last year. Net orders for trailers also rose to a 17-mnth high of 16,571 units.

Bear Stearns said in a released statement it expects a "drop off in orders and builds after the change in emissions policy based on increased uncertainty and costs related to the new engines." The company also said it doesn't forsee "any large fleet purchasing of untested engines to take place even if the manufacturers were unexpectedly able to surprise the industry by creating an economically as well as environmentally efficient engine. We expect both large and small truck fleets to increasingly run existing trucks longer as well as to buy and hold on to late model used trucks."