Don Ake

Vice President, Commercial Vehicles,
7 14

Don Ake is Vice President, Commercial Vehicles at FTR. Don has more than 20 years of experience in the transportation industry, including 16 years with industry supplier Hendrickson International. Don has a very strong forecasting and market analysis background. While at Hendrickson Don developed forecasting models, methods and processes to accurately forecast Truck and Trailer builds and product demand. Don wrote an industry economic newsletter and gained a reputation as a top industry analyst. His industry supplier background provides a "customer perspective" at FTR.


Don is responsible for forecasting class 8 truck and trailer demand. He also provides analysis and commentary on the commercial equipment industry and the economy. Don has taught economics courses at Indiana Wesleyan University and marketing courses at Walsh University. He has also been a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Akron. Don has a BSBA. and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Akron.

Boxers, Briefs, and Flatbed Trailers
In the 1970s, former Fed chairman Allan Greenspan developed the “Men’s Underwear Index” as an economic indicator. The theory is that increases in men’s underwear sales signal an economic recovery. The logic is that men will forgo replacing their haggard shorts during a tough economy, but when a recovery begins, new skivvies are one of the first purchases a guy makes. This index only works for men’s underwear, because women are usually much more diligent in replacing older undergarments.
The Commercial Vehicle Market Cycles Down the Hill
This economic recovery has most assuredly been slow and steady. Just look at GDP growth for the last 5 years...
Snapping Back – But Not Ahead
The U.S. economy registered a surprising 3.9% GDP growth in Q2 after eking out just a 0.6% gain in Q1. Of course the extreme winter weather (for the second consecutive year) tanked Q1. I did not think there would be a strong snapback in Q2 based on the manufacturing data I analyzed. However, there
Getting Back to Where We Were Before
After the Great Recession some economists claimed the U.S. economy would not suffer the same fate as the Japanese “lost decade,” when it took Japan...
Is There a Hole in Our Pocket?
When gas prices fell dramatically last fall, I enthusiastically predicted it would be a big boost to the economy with more than $70 billion, yeah $70 BILLION, in added consumer spending flowing into the system. And I even thought...
It’s Beginning to Feel a Little R-wordy

It’s time to discuss the R-word. The R-word is the economic equivalent of those other “letter defined” words that you cannot say. That’s because talking about the R-word is unpleasant, distasteful, and is not suitable for speculation in esteemed economic circles.

That being said, it’s beginning to feel a little R-wordy. I say feel because you can’t really see an R-word coming, and neither can you hear it. It invades the economy like a bad cold virus. It does its work in secret, much below the radar, until it becomes burdensome to everyone.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T – What It Means To Trucking
“New Ways to Think about Driver Retention” was a topic discussed at last month’s Fleet Forum hosted by Heavy Duty Trucking and Fleet Owner magazines at the Mid-America Truck Show. Attendees no doubt expected to hear about...
Did the Economy Just Literally Run Out Of Gas?
The Federal Reserve of Atlanta made big news last week when it announced it lowered its forecast for Q1 GDP growth to 0%. Yeah, that’s zip, zero, nada, nothing! Most economists had downgraded their forecasts, but this announcement still was a surprise. Commentators quickly blamed...
Freight Is Good – But Not Great
At FTR (Freight Transportation Research), we are literally “all about the freight,” no kidding. We believe understanding the freight market is the key to...
Strange Happenings in the Class 8 Truck Market


Something strange is happening in the Class 8 truck market. We just had record quarterly orders in Q4, making 2014 the second-highest order year ever. This order deluge has pumped up backlog to the highest point since 2006.

A Crude explanation of oil and trucking 1


Back in October I correctly predicted crude oil prices would fall to $76/barrel, which it did — for about a day. It then kept falling, due to OPEC no longer being able to control the supply, which I also correctly pointed out in that post.

Now crude is around $47/barrel, and questions are being asked about how this impacts the economy and the trucking industry.

How low will crude prices go?

Are Class 8 and Trailer Orders Really That Good? 1
Class 8 truck orders were the second highest ever in October (45,639 N.A.) and trailer orders (46,267 U.S.) set a record, shattering the old mark by thousands. Class 8 orders for November are 40,608 and 39,356 for trailers. While these numbers are huge...
The Humpty Dumpty Housing Market

Almost all of the recent reports on the housing market have been disappointing:

• Price gains are slowing, signaling a slower market. Some price indices are now under 6% year-over-year, the lowest growth since 2012.

• New home sales continue to limp along. Sales year-to-date through September up only 2.4% year-over-year (yawn).

• Existing home sales (September) down 1.7% year-over-year, with inventory ...

Get ready for the return of $3 diesel
After several years of stability there is now a major shake up to fuel prices. Crude oil prices are falling like a rock. Currently at $86/Barrel (or down a $1 since I started gathering notes for this post, which means I have to type faster.)  This is down from the June average of $105. The main reason for the drop is ...

Connect With Us

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×