New Class 8 truck orders remained subdued in June, with FTR reporting preliminary orders of 13,000 units and ACT Research reporting 13,100.
FTR reports orders were up 24% from May, but continue to track well below 20,000 units. June concluded the weakest six-month start to a year since 2010. Fleets are currently moving around previously placed orders and adjusting delivery times, while small fleets and dealers are placing small fill-in orders as production slots become available, according to FTR.
“The orders are truly a mixed bag,” said Don Ake, vice-president of commercial vehicles, FTR. “One OEM reportedly started to take orders for 2020, but the other OEMs apparently did not. Without the 2020 orders, the total would have dipped below the 10,000 unit mark. Most OEMs are reluctant to quote future trucks due to uncertainty over material costs. Until the tariff situation is resolved, it is risky to quote prices for 2020. Fleets are also reluctant to accept material surcharges with this much ambiguity present.”
Ake noted the economy and freight are still growing, but manufacturing data is not promising. FTR anticipates freight growth will moderate over the rest of the year.
“Weak freight market and rate conditions across North America and a still-large Class 8 backlog continue to bedevil new Class 8 orders,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.