Truck Market on Road to Recovery; School Buses Far Behind?

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The Wall Street Journal published comments today from Daimler AG’s Dieter Zetsche that indicate he believes the the North American truck market has begun to rebound after truck sales plummeted during the global recession.

School bus production, too, has been hit hard.

School Transportation News learned during its annual survey of school bus manufacturers that manufacturing figures dipped to their lowest level in at least 15 years. Total school bus production was down about 4 percent from 2007-2008. Still, over the past two years, the OEMs have seen more than a 20 percent decrease in output. An article will be contained in the upcoming 2010 STN Buyer’s Guide.

It remains to be seen what effect, if any, Zetsche’s truck forecast will have on this industry. He was speaking at an event in Abu Dhabi when he said the North American market is showing signs of entering a recovery period and that the global commercial market is expected to show a “low-level” increase in 2010. Daimler AG, of course, owns Thomas Built Buses.

Meanwhile, the STN survey in next the Buyer’s Guide will show that the school bus manufacturers forecast that school bus production could be down another 25 percent next year, but it should be noted that these same companies estimated that manufacturing would be down to the tune of 20 to 30 percent over this past year. That simply wasn’t the case.