Truck orders fall below 20K for first time this year

Jason Cannon

July 3, 2013

North American Class 8 orders fell in June, with the preliminary count coming in at 18,900 units.

Data from FTR Associates shows slightly fewer (18,606) units moved last month, 18 percent fewer than May.

In either case, June was the first month orders have fallen below 20,000 since November 2012.

The seasonal drop was somewhat traditional and expected. Based on truckers’ historical ordering patterns, activity typically slows in the May to September time frame.

“Orders were slightly below the general expectations but a decline was not surprising given the typical summer slowdown in orders,” Jonathan Starks, FTR’s director of transportation analysis, says. “One month of a small drop in orders is not enough to have a substantial impact on our production forecast for 2013. Hours Of Service has begun but is unlikely to impact order activity (either up or down) for several months – for now it is business as usual.”

Compared to the same month last year, Class 8 net orders were 13 percent better, according to ACT Research. FTR Accociates says the figures annualize to 261,300 trucks compared to total 2012 orders of 224,600 units.

June’s medium-duty orders exhibited the same pattern of sequential softening, but year-over-year growth. The preliminary tally of Classes 5-7 orders shows a month-over-month decline to 14,900 units, but a 6 percent increase compared to June 2012.

“Given the softer customer activity, both Class 8 and Classes 5-7 backlogs are likely to be reduced as OEMs build more vehicles than they received orders for during June,” said Steve Tam, ACT’s Vice President – Commercial Vehicle Sector. “Industry watchers can take solace in the fact that this is an almost perennial ritual that takes place as buyers turn their attention to pursuits other than purchasing new equipment.”

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