Commercial truck sales should continue to grow through next year, but may see a decline in 2007 due to impending emissions regulations. Photo: Mack Trucks

Leading economists at the September National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Economic Outlook Conference agreed that 2006 will be a year of continued growth for the commercial truck and transportation equipment industry.

Martin Labbe, president and chief executive officer of Martin Labbe Associates in Ormond Beach, Fla., predicted sales growth for Classes 1-8 in 2006, but expressed concern regarding heavy-duty truck sales in 2007. Due to impending emissions regulations and concerns about new engine technology, he said there is likely to be a pre-buy situation in 2006 that may result in a decline in heavy-duty sales and production in 2007.

Eli Lustgarten, senior vice president of Longbow Research, Cleveland, and principal of ESL Consultants, St. Louis, forecast strong industry growth through 2010 but concurred with Labbe that 2007 may bring decreased heavy-duty truck sales. Lustgarten also noted that the commercial truck and transportation equipment industry's respite from high steel and other commodity prices may be at an end, as August steel prices were increased from second quarter levels.

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