After a banner year in which Class 8 truck orders averaged at least 42,600 units per month, early reports from both ACT Research and FTR show a drop off in activity in November.

November Numbers Signal Slowdown in Class 8 Truck Orders
November Numbers Signal Slowdown in Class 8 Truck Orders

Preliminary data from ACT Research and FTR both show a similar drop in orders, hitting 27,900 units and 27,500 units, respectively. in the most recent reports. While this represents a 36% drop from October and a lower number than for November of 2017, the reduction in truck orders was expected as truck manufacturers have nearly filled up their order boards for 2019.

“It was expected that orders would fall fairly soon, as the available 2019 slots filled up,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “A couple of the OEMs that had some open capacity actually had solid order numbers, while the rest appear to be nearly sold out for next year.”

While FTR still expects the equipment market to be solid in 2019, it expects that cancellations will rise in November and December so truck orders could come in below 20,000 units.

“Backlogs are enormous, and fleets will continue to move orders around as needed,” said Ake. “This trend is expected to last well into next year.”

Meanwhile. medium-duty (Class 5-7) truck orders are projected to be strong in November, hitting 25,100 units, beating both short- and long-term averages. Unlike the Class 8 truck market ,which has bucked many seasonal trends, the medium-duty market will likely follow its usual course as indicated by the strong November numbers, according to ACT Research. In the past 12 months, medium-duty truck orders have averaged 24,900 units per month.

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