25 February 2010
It has been a cautious start to the new year with many USA forklift dealers, manufacturers and service providers welcoming the ninth consecutive month of improved economic activity.
Melissa Barnett reports.
Economic activity, particularly in the manufacturing sector, saw across-the-board growth for the sixth consecutive month, with both new orders and production indexes above 60%, indicating strong current and future performance.
The Industrial Truck Association's (ITA) past president, Stan Simpson, says that new factory orders are up 21% for the first month of 2010 compared to the same time last year.
The National Bureau of Economic Research believes the recession most likely reached its nadir in June to August, 2009 and has predicted 2010 GDP growth of 2.6% - traditionally enough of a rise to kick-start expansion in the forklift market. Many of the people Forkliftaction.com interviewed for this report predicted a conservative growth in equipment sales of between 4% and 10% over 2010. Ilidio Alves, director of marketing for Nissan Forklift Corporation, believes that the US forklift market could realistically achieve 100,000 unit sales in 2010.
This is particularly encouraging given that 2009 produced sales figures not seen since the mid-1980s. Don Chance, president of sales at Nacco Materials Handling Group (NMHG), notes last year was a tough year with the overall US forklift market down more than 50% from its 2006 level. "The numbers we saw for the industry were 92,000 units for 2009, compared to nearly 208,000 units for 2006. This has made for a very challenging business environment."