BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – North American Class 8 orders came in at 22,100 units in October, according to preliminary data from FTR, marking the strongest month since November 2018.
However, they remained well off a year ago, down 51% year-over-year, and were the weakest October result since 2016.
Orders were up 79% from September, signalling a subdued start to the ordering season. FTR also reported orders were boosted by a couple big fleet orders. The industry forecaster says cancellations are expected to remain elevated as OEMs shake out excess 2019 orders from their backlogs.
“Orders increased in October as expected, however, caution prevails,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice-president of commercial vehicles. “The trade and political turmoil are producing a highly uncertain business environment. Fleets are only ordering for their immediate needs. They are not willing to speculate much beyond the first quarter of next year. The OEMs have plenty of open capacity right now, so carriers are willing to approach 2020 a step at a time.”
Ake added: “The orders were fair in October. Freight growth is flat, as the industrial sector slows and manufacturing struggles a bit. Orders are expected to stay in this range for a few months until there is more confidence in the economy and less turbulence in the trade war and political arena.”