Positive Fleet Environment Heading into 2016; Still Struggling With Shortage

CK Commercial Vehicle Research released its Q1 2016 Fleet Sentiment Survey this week. A total of 48 fleets participated, with a generally positive sentiment reported.

The 48 American fleets that participated in the survey said that they are continuing to see good demand level for their services with high equipment utilization rates. However, the driver shortage is one area that continues to especially challenging for OTR for-hire fleets in the US.

Other key results for the Q1 2016 Fleet Sentiment Survey:
A smaller percentage of fleets were planning power unit purchases in Q1 2016 compared to last year; however overall unit volume was higher. Conversely, more fleets planned trailer purchases but with fewer total units.
A few larger fleets were planning added capacity with new trailer units but overall fleets are primarily buying equipment on a replacement-only basis.
Reported equipment utilization is above 90% for trucks and more than 85% for trailers.
More than 50% of fleets reported that they need drivers now (to either fill seats or to grow).
Nearly one quarter of fleets are already taking actions to meet the proposed GHG-Phase 2 implementation.
A third of survey respondents are currently spec’ing downspeed powertrains with another 15% expected to do so within a couple of years.
On average, survey participants view OEM integrated powertrain packages favorably.
Fleets participating in the Q1 2016 survey operate in excess of 46,000 medium and heavy duty trucks and more than 138,000 trailers. They represent a varied mix of fleet demographics.
According to Chris Kemmer of CK Commercial Vehicle Research, “results of our Q1 2016 survey look remarkably like the same period last year. Fleet capacity vs. demand and other fleet environment survey results matched very closely to Q1 2015. Early year medium and heavy duty equipment buying plans were somewhat uneven when compared to Q1 2015. Most respondents indicated their annual 2016 purchases would be similar to 2015; however we heard from one major fleet that is cutting purchases for both trucks and trailers at least in half, so that could definitely be a concern.”