The final numbers for March net orders, which will be released mid-April, will approach 20,000 units for heavy-duty Class 8 trucks and 13,500 for medium-duty Classes 5-7 vehicles, reports ACT Research.
The preliminary net order numbers are typically accurate to within 5% of actual.

Medium-duty orders were in line with expectations and right in the middle of the range of orders since mid 2011. In what is typically one of the seasonally strongest months of the year, Class 8 orders came in below expectations for a second consecutive month. On a seasonally adjusted basis, Class 8 orders were the weakest since September 2010 at 18,400 units.

"As was the case in February, we attribute softness in Class 8 orders to near-term phenomena including a pullback in confidence brought about by the fall-off in freight at the beginning of 2012, coupled with the subsequent run-up in diesel prices since the beginning of the year, and higher reported Class 8 prices on 2013MY equipment," says Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst, ACT Research. "Beyond those reasons, actual and anecdotal data that we track continue to be supportive of a healthy Class 8 market."