Two trucking industry forecasting and analysis teams have released preliminary Class 8 truck net orders for September that show a slight decline in orders for the month, but enough to make it the worse September in seven years.
Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR, said 13,800 units were ordered in September, which he said is in line with expectations and down a slight 2 percent against August.
However, he said, it was the worst month of September since 2009 with orders down 27 percent from a year ago. Class 8 orders for the last 12 months have totaled 201,000 units.
“The truck market continued to stay weak through September, but this was highly expected considering the slower industry conditions and overall seasonal trends. Fleets are cautious due to an uncertain economy and slow freight growth. Class 8 inventories also remain high and this also restrains new orders.”
Meanwhile, ACT Research Inc. said there were 13,900 Class 8 vehicle net orders booked last month. And like FTR’s figures, these numbers are preliminary with a final accounting to be published in mid-October.
Steve Tam, ACT’s vice president, said, “Owing to September’s dubious distinction as the weakest net order month of the year, seasonal adjustment boosts the month’s intake to 16,100 units.
“At 28 percent below September 2015’s intake, it remains crystal clear that truckers are still struggling to balance excess freight hauling capacity in the context of anemic freight growth.”
FTR’s Ake concluded, “The October orders will still be a critical sign for 2017. Large fleets are expected to begin ordering replacement units for 2017. If the economy does improve and the trucking outlook brightens, then medium-sized fleets and others should feel confident enough to order also in coming months. This would put the market near replacement levels in 2017.”