FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for November dropped to a disappointing 17,300 units—down 21% from October.
This was the lowest November total since 2015, and was 39% lower than the same month a year ago, FTR maintained.
Fleets remain extremely cautious heading into 2020, placing small orders and not extending orders much beyond the first quarter. A couple OEMs reported decent order activity, but total orders fell below expectations. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months now total 180,000 units.
“The fall order season has gotten off to a slow start,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles. “Freight growth has stalled from the high rates of last year. This is causing fleets to be much more measured in their ordering for 2020. There still will be plenty of freight to haul, so we expect fleets will continue to be profitable and to replace older equipment. However, there won’t be a need for much additional equipment on the roads.
“There is still a great deal of uncertainty in the environment, which is creating apprehension in the trucking industry. Manufacturing has receded for four straight months, slowing economic growth. The trade war and tariffs are destabilizing prices and supply chains. And the tumultuous political climate just adds to an uneasy mix. The industry thrives on stability, but we are now on a rocky road.”
Final data for November will be available from FTR later in the month as part of its North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service.