A Tough Equipment Market Through 2009, OEMs Say

The construction equipment manufacturing industry expects continued business declines in the United States through year-end 2008 of 8.6 percent, followed by flat growth in 2009 of 0.4 percent, according to the annual “Outlook” survey of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. However, sales to worldwide markets are expected to increase 8.5 percent by year-end 2008 and gain 5.4 percent in 2009.

The AEM survey is based on manufacturers’ predictions for overall year-end 2008 and 2009 business in the U.S., Canada and worldwide.

Canada is expected to fare better than the U.S., with business stabilizing at minus 1.7 percent for 2008, followed by 2.2 percent growth in 2009.

“The overall slowdown of the past year or so, after record expansion, accelerated this fall with a worsening housing market and collapse of major financial institutions in the U.S.,” said AEM president Dennis Slater. “The continued financial turmoil is affecting commercial projects as well. While the strength of the global economy has spurred equipment export growth, we now face a slowdown here as well.”

Slater touted the importance of government measures to boost infrastructure investment. “We need to get dollars into the construction pipeline,” he added. “An immediate increase in public works funding will help jumpstart the U.S. economy. It’s estimated that there are currently 3,000 projects that could begin work within 30 to 90 days of a governmental funding commitment. Our aging roads, bridges, and highways need repair and upgrades. Committing funds to infrastructure renewal not only provides manufacturing and construction jobs, but also helps ensure we have safe and efficient movement of goods and people.”

Looking at equipment categories, sales of earthmoving equipment are expected to decrease 15.8 percent year-end 2008 for the U.S., 6.8 percent in Canada, while increasing 6 percent in worldwide markets. Business volume in 2009 is anticipated to decline 3.3 percent in the U.S., 0.6 percent in Canada and gain 4.8 percent worldwide.

Sales of lifting equipment — including aerial work platforms, cranes and forklifts — are expected to drop 7.4 percent in the U.S. by year-end 2008, rise 0.9 percent in Canada and 4.2 percent worldwide. The market will grow 2.4 percent in the U.S. in 2009, 5.6 percent in Canada and 8.2 percent worldwide, the study indicates.

Bituminous equipment sales — including asphalt plants, screeds and pavers; cold planers; pneumatic, static and vibratory rollers and more — are expected to drop 8.8 percent in the U.S. by year-end 2008, and 2.8 percent in Canada, and rise 16.4 percent worldwide. In 2009, the bituminous market will decline 3.3 percent in the U.S., 0.6 percent in Canada and jump 7.8 percent worldwide.

Sales of concrete and aggregate equipment are predicted to drop 8.6 percent in the U.S. by year-end 2008; drop 5.3 percent for Canada and leap 20.4 percent worldwide. The market will rebound to a 4.6-percent gain in the U.S. in 2008, 2 percent up in Canada and 3.9 percent worldwide.

The light equipment market has been hard hit in the U.S., and is expected to drop 10.7 percent in U.S. sales, while increasing 1.1 percent for Canada and 5 percent worldwide. This market is expected to decline 1.9 percent in the U.S., increase 3 percent in Canada and 3.1 percent worldwide.

The attachment and component market will grow 3.3 percent in the U.S., 2.6 percent in Canada and 6.9 percent worldwide in 2008. In 2009, growth will increase to 3.4 percent, 2.6 percent for Canada and 5.4 percent worldwide.

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