NTEA published its 11th annual Fleet Purchasing Outlook to assess commercial vehicle procurement plans and identify work truck industry patterns. Insights provided by fleet professionals offer perspective on how the market is changing over time in terms of size, growth rate and technology.
“The latest survey responses indicate that fleet purchasing activity will focus on deferred replacement and growth,” said Chris Lyon, NTEA director of fleet relations. “These findings are consistent with expectations, as fleets continue to be challenged by the ability to obtain chassis.”
NTEA gathers feedback from a wide variety of fleet professionals with authority to make commercial vehicle acquisition and specification decisions. Participants come from a wide range of fleet sizes, vehicle weight classes and vocational truck applications across the U.S. and Canada. Primary sectors featured in this analysis include government/municipal, construction, delivery, and utility/telecom application markets.
With current survey results combined with data from previous studies, this report delivers year-over-year comparisons for benchmarking purposes and insight into the fleet perspective to help organizations develop future business strategies.
Fleets report one of their most important management priorities is to optimize operations. Continuing to reduce vehicle life cycle cost, sourcing vehicles to backfill deferred replacements, idle reduction and uptime are also key priorities. Acquisition costs and longer lead times are among the biggest challenges fleet managers are facing when purchasing new commercial vehicles.
What Did the 2023 NTEA Outlook Find?
NTEA anticipates chassis availability will continue to be problematic going into 2023 with many fleets planning to acquire more vehicles due to deferred vehicle replacements from the past several years. U.S. economic growth may also be slower than previously anticipated. Survey responses made it clear 2023 fleet acquisition intentions vary by industry served.
According to the report, fleets report one of their most important management priorities is to optimize operations. Continuing to reduce vehicle life cycle cost, sourcing vehicles to backfill deferred replacements, idle reduction and uptime are also key priorities. Acquisition costs and longer lead times are among the biggest challenges fleet managers are facing when purchasing new commercial vehicles
Fleet respondents report the following:
- 69% report the average age of their trucks is exceeding their normal replacement cycle, and 29% say the average age is increasing beyond 10 years.
- 42% state their fleet size is increasing, and another 40% indicate it’s remaining the same.
- 95% plan to make at least some acquisitions in 2023 (up 6% over 2022), and 58% plan to replace at least 5% of their total fleet in 2023.
- 42% say they would purchase a different brand due to longer lead times and lack of chassis availability.
- 79% are using drive and duty cycle data and 81% are using telematics.
- 91% they are finding safety and automation options to meet their needs; tire pressure monitoring, collision avoidance and lane departure warnings make the list of top items of importance to fleets.
- 62% intend to purchased advanced fuel vehicles in 2023.
- 77% perform in-house maintenance or a combination of in-house maintenance with support from an outside service provider.
Digging Deeper into the 2023 NTEA Outlook
In 2022, nearly 39% of respondents operated commercial vehicles in all eight weight classes, slightly up from the year prior. Less than 4% of participating fleets reported just having one weight class, and 59% had five or more of the eight weight classes in their fleets, which is comparable to the previous year.
1. Average Vehicle Age Exceeding Replacement Cycles
Over 69% of respondents reported their average commercial vehicle ages are exceeding normal replacement cycles. Fifty-one percent said their average age exceeds their planned replacement by more than one year. More than 32% stated they are exceeding one to three years beyond their planned replacement.
2. Average Truck Age Continues to Increase
Over the past several years, the average vehicle age has continued to increase (chassis availability remains a major contributing factor). Historical data indicates average commercial vehicle age continues to trend upward as compared to pre-pandemic market conditions. The 2023 survey suggests fleets continue to be behind in replacement cycles.
3. Fleet Sizes Expected to Increase
With continued progress from the 2020 recession, over 40% of respondents expect their fleet size will increase in 2023, which is a slight uptick compared to last year. There is a 10% decrease in the number of participants anticipating their fleet size will remain the same
Want more info, including telematics usage, alternative-fuel plans, and more? Check out the full 2023 Fleet Purchasing Outlook from NTEA. This report download is free to NTEA members, nonmembers can purchase for $199.