Net orders for Class 8 trucks hit a six-month low, recording 24,780 units, in March, according to preliminary data from FTR. This is the lowest level since September 2014 and the first time Class 8 orders have fallen year-over-year since January 2013.
FTR is anticipating a continued fall in order activity following seasonal trends given the time of year. Orders have totaled 376,000 units in the past 12 months. Backlogs are still high, but most manufacturers experienced a drop in orders this month. Despite down numbers, FTR is still predicting a good year for production.
“It is not surprising that orders fell to this level in March,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR. “Many fleets already had their requirements in for 2015, and there is no advantage at this point to begin ordering for next year.”
The market is still settling after over-exceeding expectations in the fourth quarter of 2014 and the early part of 2015, according to Ake. But with most fleets having already ordered for 2015, they are unlikely to address 2016’s needs until later in the year.
“The market has cooled down from the torrid pace of Q4 and is trying to find its equilibrium point,” said Ake. “We could see orders dip below 20,000 in the summer, but this will still be a great production year.”