Photo: Evan Lockridge

Photo: Evan Lockridge

April Class 8 truck orders declined 11% from March numbers to 22,076 units, according to preliminary data from FTR. The drop also represents a 10% decrease compared to April 2014.

The dropoff in April reflects market stabilization returning to traditional seasonal trends and it is expected that order rates will continue to fall through the summer months, said FTR. Class 8 orders now total 373,000 units over the last 12 months.

The orders met expectations and were in line with FTR’s order and production forecasts with the Class 8 market returning to normal, though still at a very strong level.

April numbers fell in line with predictions, indicating that market volatility may have ended for the cycle, according to FTR.

“We expect the order numbers and backlog level to continue to fall throughout the summer,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles.

“May’s orders could even dip below 20,000, but that is not a problem for 2015 as long as near-term production slots fill up," he added.

Competing analysis firm ACT Research said preliminarly Nroth American Class 8 orders posted their lowest monthly net order volume since November 2013 at 22,400 units, down 10% year over year. “Rather than simply a harbinger of weakness, the slower order intake should be taken in a broader context,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. “In addition to few build slots remaining open, there was some pulling forward of orders by truckers from October through February to ensure product and build timing availability.”

According to ACT Research, medium-duty orders fell to 17,300 units, down 21% year-over-year against a particularly tough comparison. “This was the lowest order intake since last July, but not out of line with several other months in the interim,” said Vieth.