A little too soon

Throughout the process of compiling the State of the Industry interview responses this year, it became quite clear that I was a little ahead of myself with the questions, and I think I know why. Much like other industries outside of heavy-duty equipment manufacturing, the economic downturn created a near-sighted effect on many companies. You couldn't look too far down the road because there was too much to worry about in the short-term. So, when I asked our participants about what was yet to come in 2015 and beyond, the "beyond" was hard to come by in any concreteness. 

You can still hear that tone of cautious optimism in people's responses, and I suppose I was a bit naive or hopeful that the veil of cautiousness would have been lifted. But, as I noticed, it's just too soon.

Even looking beyond Tier 4 Final--which launched at the beginning of the year for certain sized engine systems--is too soon, as many OEMs are waiting on full production and T4F implementation because purchasers aren't ready to buy expensive new equipment. The rental market looks promising for that very reason.

The BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are still viewed as the strongest emerging economies to invest in for global expansion, and while a few mentioned concern over Russia's current socio-politicial situation, none seemed too threatened by the ordeal in regards to business development potential. Mexico is starting to make a strong name for itself as a North American alternative to China for affordable labor costs and production capabilities, plus its own developing infrastructure demands.

Frank Manfredi, our market forecaster from Manfredi & Associates Inc. summarizes the off-road industries of construction and mining on page 16 and delves deeper into the agricultural industry online at www.oemoffhighway.com/12007563. Two perspectives are presented on the global emissions reduction industry: The first from the Diesel Technology Forum on the evolution of emissions tracking systems and people's involvement in cleaner air on page 24. The second is from Integer Research, a UK-based provider of research, data, analysis and consultancy services with a look at Stage 5 emissions regulations coming from Europe on page 30.

The hot topic of CNG fuel and efficient CNG fuel storage systems as a diesel alternative is investigated by technology development specialist REL Inc. on page 36, and finally the recently re-emerged industry of 3D printing is explored for manufacturing opportunity on page 42.

Don't forget to check out the full interviews from all of our State of the Industry participants online at www.oemoffhighway.com or in our free digital edition (subscribe for free at www.oemoffhighway.com/subscribe).