For the first time since January 2013, Class 8 truck orders were down year-over-year in March, according to preliminary data from FTR.
Class 8 orders came in at 24,780 units, marking the lowest level since September 2014. FTR said order levels were disappointing, though the order rate is reverting to more stable and predictable patterns.
The industry forecaster indicated backlogs are still high enough to support its 2015 forecast.
“It is not surprising that orders fell to this level in March. Many fleets already had their requirements in for 2015, and there is no advantage at this point to begin ordering for next year,” said Don Ake, vice-president, commercial vehicles, FTR. “The market has cooled down from the torrid pace of Q4 and is trying to find its equilibrium point. We could see orders dip below 20,000 in the summer, but this will still be a great production year.”
ACT Research reported Classes 5-8 orders fell below 50,000 units, down 2% compared to March 2014. The company said it wasn’t surprised by the drop in Class 8 orders.
“As expected, Class 8 order activity moderated into March as 25,100 NA net orders were booked,” said Steve Tam, vice-president, commercial vehicle sector. “Down 9% compared to last year, March’s orders marked the end of a 25-month streak of consecutive year-over-year gains. Rather than signaling weakness in the market, March’s lower intake is more akin to turning the tap down as the pool nears the full mark.”