Preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked around 10,000 units in July. ACT Research reported 10,200 units in July, down 21% from June, while FTR reported preliminary North American Class 8 orders for July at 9,800 units.
FTR noted that the sub-10,000-unit threshold has not been breached since 2010. Despite most order boards being opened for 2020 build slots, carriers appear in no rush to grab production capacity, FTR says. July orders were 24% below an already soft June with a -82% year-over-year comparison.
“Fleets continue to take a wait-and-see approach to 2020 equipment,” said Jonathan Starks, FTR’s chief intelligence officer. “Potentially higher equipment costs, uncertain demand, and enough available capacity in the market are keeping order activity at bay.”
“Weak freight market and rate conditions across North America and a still-large Class 8 backlog continue to bedevil new Class 8 orders; though with OEMs opening their new model-year order books in June and July, order weakness is increasingly the story of an overcapacitized Class 8 fleet,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Seasonal adjustment boosts July’s intake to 12,100 units, bringing the ‘worst since’ comparison measurably closer: October 2016.”
Regarding the medium-duty market, Vieth said, “While not as weak, and after a seven-year positive run, the medium duty segment is looking increasingly tired, with July’s preliminary Classes 5-7 net orders at 15,900 units, down 20% year-over-year and 18% through year-to-date July. Seasonal adjustment provides a major boost to July’s medium duty net orders, which rise to 19,100 units, still the lowest adjusted tally since October 2016.”