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Freightliner CEO: Truck sales will soar in '04

Rainer Schmueckle, Freightliner LLC's president and chief executive officer, is predicting a boom in truck sales this year in North America for both heavy- and medium-duty commercial trucks.

“After three really terrible years for Class 8 sales, we are clearly on the verge of a strong recovery,” he said at the recent Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville KY. “Class 8 orders are surging through the first three months of this year, and even though medium-duty sales have been sluggish to recover, we are starting to see positive signs there, as well.”

Schmueckle is forecasting total Class 8 sales of 220,000 units in 2004 for Mexico, Canada, and the United States, a 20% increase from the 180,000 Class 8 trucks sold in 2003. Medium-duty truck sales are expected to climb 12% in North America this year to 150,000 units, up from 133,500 units in 2003.

“Most of the volume is being driven by big linehaul fleets, but now orders are rising from small regional haulers and vocational fleets. They're getting back into the market for equipment now,” he said. “We also expect the US economy to grow by 4% this year, which should help maintain the considerable positive momentum of truck sales.”

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