ACT estimated July orders at 10,200 units, down 21% from June and the lowest monthly tally since February 2010. FTR’s outlook was grimmer still, with its estimate of 9,800 units marking the first drop below 10,000 in nearly a decade.
ACT said complete industry data for July, including final order numbers, will be published in mid-August.
“Weak freight market and rate conditions across North America and a still-large Class 8 backlog continue to bedevil new Class 8 orders,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Though, with OEMs opening their new model-year order books in June and July, order weakness is increasingly the story of an overcapacitized Class 8 fleet.
“Seasonal adjustment boosts July’s intake to 12,100 units, bringing the “worst since” comparison measurably closer, October 2016.”
Regarding the medium-duty market, Vieth said “While not as weak, and after a seven-year positive run, the medium-duty segment is looking increasingly tired, with July’s preliminary Classes 5-7 net orders at 15,900 units, down 20% year-over-year and 18% through year-to-date July. Seasonal adjustment provides a major boost to July’s medium-duty net orders, which rise to 19,100 units, still the lowest adjusted tally since October 2016.”
Despite most Class 8 order boards opening for 2020 build slots, carriers appear in no rush to grab production capacity, FTR said. July orders were 24% below an already soft June, with a -82% year-over-year comparison. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months now have fallen to a total of 288,000 units.
“Fleets continue to take a wait-and-see approach to 2020 equipment,” said Jonathan Starks, FTR’s chief intelligence officer. “Potentially higher equipment costs, uncertain demand and enough available capacity in the market are keeping order activity at bay.”
FTR’s final data for July will be available later in August as part of its North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service.