Truck orders slump, retail sales hold steady

John G Smith
Daimler Trucks North America continues to dominate Class 8 retail sales. (Photo: Daimler Trucks North America)

TORONTO, Ont. – North American Class 8 truck orders continue to plunge this year, with preliminary estimates totaling fewer than 11,000 vehicles this May.

ACT Research has set its estimate at about 10,800 units, while FTR suggested monthly truck orders would be closer to 10,400 vehicles. The numbers would represent respective drops of 27 or 29% when compared to April totals.

ACT president Kenny Vieth described it as the worst performance since July 2016. “Year-to-date Class 8 net orders have contracted 64% compared to the first five months of 2018,” he said.

The coming months could be telling.

“Ordering for 2020 is expected to begin in June, with several OEMs expected to start taking orders for next year,” said Don Ake, FTR vice-president of commercial vehicles. “Orders for the next couple of months should be a good indicator of fleet confidence about 2020.”

Retail truck sales, however, remain robust.

Freightliner dominated Canada’s Class 8 sales in May, accounting for 1,014 out of the 3,357 truck sales, WardsAuto reports. There were 3,604 Class 8 trucks sold by this time last year, during a particularly robust market.

Peterbilt led the way in Class 7 with 267 out of the 679 retail sales in the truck class. Still, International accounts for 33.4% of the year-to-date totals compared to the 27.8% held by Peterbilt.

In Class 6, Freightliner secured 53 sales to Hino’s 43 out of the 159 units sold. But the companies are essentially in a dead heat for market share this year, at a respective 35.5% and 32.1%.

Ford continues to dominate Class 5 truck sales in Canada, selling 258 units in May. But that represented a 37% market share compared to the 45% it accounts for on a year-to-date basis.

See the next edition of Today’s Trucking for a full report on truck retail sales numbers.

John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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