June '19

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JUNE 2019 THE SHOP 41 As such, when considering vehicle pro- curement, many fleets are faced with sub- stantial lead times. In fact, "As of fourth quarter 2018, most commercial truck and truck equipment industry companies were struggling to manage large backlogs and long lead times," the NTEA report notes. Despite the ever-present challenges, however, data shows that fleets continue to adapt and make gains. "In unit terms, the work truck industry will likely sell 22,000 more Class 2–8 truck chassis in 2018 than in 2017. In 2019, sales will likely increase by another 18,000 units. If the forecast is accurate, total Class 2–8 chassis sales will reach a level of almost 463,000 units in 2019—quite close to the record 472,000 units sold in 2006," NTEA reveals. TRENDS IMPACTING THE INDUSTRY Among other things, vehicle versatility, alternative fuel factors, first-rate technology and aftermarket support are top-of-mind for managers looking to replace and/or expand their fleet vehicles and operations. Understandably, for many years the average fleet age surpassed 10 years, as the professional market positioned itself to rebound from negative ripple effects due to the Great Recession, but current reports suggest a more concerted effort to replace them more regularly. Thirty-two percent of NTEA survey respondents said they plan to replenish 10 percent or more of their fleets during 2019, with 7 percent planning 25-50 per- cent. Not to be confused with replenishing, 40 percent of survey respondents said they plan to expand the size of their fleets as well, reinforcing that the industry itself is healthy. Such growth can be attributed to a number of factors but, Fournier adds, "Without question, the Euro van is the biggest change in the professional work seg- ment during the past decade. Technology would be the next biggest change, with GPS management of fleet vehicles, a need for the driver to have a laptop mounted in the passenger seat and use of reverse cameras." NTEA reports that 35 percent of fleet responders are investing in alternative fuels and truck productivity technologies. Eigh- teen percent of current fleets incorporate alternative fuels in at least 10 percent of their vehicles, with 7 percent of fleets using alternative fuels in 25-50 percent of their vehicles. This includes biodiesel, E85 and electric hybrid technology. Innovation is helping drive excitement in the work truck segment. (Photo courtesy Dee Zee) Photo taken at: Dress to impress with CTech Shop Cabinets! Presentation is half the battle.... ATTRACT A PREMIUM CLIENT WITH PREMIUM SHOP PRESENCE • All aluminum construction • Custom/Configurable options at standard pricing • Cabinet modules: Base/Bench, Overhead, Wall & Closet WWW.CTECHMANUFACTURING.COM ALUMINUM Carts, Cabinets & Drawers

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