FTR Associates has released preliminary data showing December Class 8 truck net orders at 20,836 units, just 6% higher than November. This is a 30% drop from the same month a year ago.

While orders were low historically for December, those received in the last three months of 2012 were well above the prior six months. Preliminary order numbers are for all major North American OEMs.

Eric Starks, president of FTR commented, "December orders were disappointing and were at the low end of expectations. This confirms our forecast for a weaker start to 2013. It is possible that fleets have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for a resolution to the fiscal cliff. If so, we would expect to see some better numbers in January."

Final data for December will be available from FTR later in the month as part of its North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service.