Preliminary data from ACT Research has signalled a decline in North American Class 8 heavy-duty truck orders for December 2018.
While the final order numbers will be published later this month, ACT estimates the 21,300 units were sold in December 2018 – down 24 percent from November 2018, and 43 percent lower than in December 2017.
Nonetheless, Class 8 orders for 2018 totalled 490,100 units, exceeding the previous record in 2004 when 390,000 units ordered.
Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst, said: “It is important to put slowing orders into context. With a 300,000-plus unit backlog and a solidly booked build schedule, the drop in orders is in-line with expectations.”
According to Freight Transportation Research (FTR), there are few build slots remaining for 2019. The analyst expects order totals to remain low for the next several months.
Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, added: “Order rates right now are not that relevant because of the record-breaking totals recorded in June and July last year. Fleets got a jump on ordering to reserve 2019 build slots, so orders had to fall off at some point, and December was the start of it.”
He added: “Because orders rates are reduced, they are not currently a good barometer of long-term demand. All the orders are in, the question now is how many of these orders will actually be built? We will have to watch the build rates and retail sales closely for clues about the future strength of the Class 8 market.”