Industry forecaster releases grim truck sales figures

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Industry forecaster FTR Associates has released its truck and trailer sales report for December, which showed Class 8 net orders hit a level not seen since September, 2006.


In December, only 8,649 Class 8 trucks were sold in North America. Orders for the fourth quarter of 2008 are running at a “meager” annualized rate of just 119,100 units, the company reported yesterday.


Class 8 order backlogs fell to 52,703 units, with a backlog-to-retail sales ratio of 3.9 months, indicating further slowdowns in production.


The decline was especially noticeable in Canada, Mexico and export markets, FTR reported.


“In the last quarter of 2008, orders for Non-US markets came in at an annual rate of 19,080 compared to the current new factory shipments forecast of 40,231 units for Canada, Mexico and Exports,” explained FTR Associates president, Eric Starks. “This just adds to the already negative outlook for Class 8 production in 2009.”


The downturn in demand here in Canada intensified sharply in November, according to the report. US demand seems to have stabilized, albeit at low levels, in the last four months of 08. The report predicts there will be further production decreases. Inventories are at their lowest levels since late 2004.


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