FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for April at 16,400 units, 52% below April 2018. This is the fourth consecutive month for Class 8 orders to be below the 20,000 mark and is the lowest April total since 2016.
Orders have remained remarkably consistent for the first four months of the year, tracking within a narrow 1,000-unit range, with April just 5% up from March. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months now total 380,000 units.
Fleets continue to search for open build slots in the 2019 production schedule. Backlogs remain fluid with orders being rescheduled, often opening up build slots in the near term. FTR analysts say they expect this type of order pattern continuing until ordering for 2020 begins.
Don Ake, FTR vice-president of commercial vehicles, says: “Near-term build slots are becoming available as fleets rearrange orders based on current needs. There still is limited cancellation activity, as fleets do not want to give up build slots they may need at a later date. They remember what happened last year when they needed trucks, but could not get enough of them.
“Economic growth is expected to moderate soon, slowing down the freight markets. However, there is still a need to replace older trucks and also get more new trucks on the road. Fleets have their expected requirements orders in for the year and are working with the OEMs to schedule production and deliveries as needed. Some washout of the backlog due to increased cancellations is still expected to occur later this year.”