November truck orders dropped from October's unexpectedly high level, and are expected to be around 20,000 units for Class 8 when final numbers come in.

FTR Associates has released preliminary data showing November Class 8 truck net orders at 19,683 units, 14% below October and down 3% year-over-year.

ACT Research released data stating that North America class 5-7 preliminary net orders for November returned to prevailing trend levels, while Class 8 orders fell from October's "best since January" volume.

ACT expects the final numbers, which will be released mid-December, will approach 13,900 units for medium duty Classes 5-7 vehicles and trucks and 20,200 for Class 8.

November was still the second highest month for Class 8 orders since March and annualize to 236,200 units, according to FTR.

"Class 8 order activity slowed in November, which is not normal for this time of the year," said Jon Starks, FTR's director of transportation analysis. "However, the current order levels reaffirm our forecast for next year, which has been at the low end of other industry forecasts.

"We have been forecasting a sub-240,000 unit production year for 2013 since June of this year and it appears that the market is confirming what we were seeing back then in late spring. There is no big push to get year-end delivery prior to the depreciation expiration on Dec. 31. We need to see stronger orders to finish the year and start 2013 if we want to get more bullish on the market."

ACT Research President and Senior Analyst Kenny Veith noted that the pullback in medium duty was across all three vehicle types.

"With a very low factor, seasonal adjustment boosts orders to 14,100 units,' he said. "Seasonal adjustment trims November's Class 8 order volume to 19,000 units.

"The low-end of expectations Class 8 order total is likely tied to short-term demand challenges," Vieth said. "Those issues include a tax pull forward into Q4, a deferral into Q2 for more fuel efficient MY'14 units, and the fact that dealer inventories are already reasonably making meaningful stock accumulation in Q1 unlikely," Vieth said.