FTR reported that preliminary North American Class 8 orders for December 2019 remained stable at 20,000 units. Fleets are being very cautious in this environment, only ordering what they know they need for the next few months, FTR noted. Orders averaged just under 20,000 units a month for the fourth quarter, basically right at replacement demand, and FTR expects them to stay in this range for the next few months.
Although the December order activity improved 14% m/m, the total was still below the less-than-robust results seen during October and down 7% y/y, FTR noted.
“This is as balanced and stable as you are going to see in Class 8 ordering,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles. “Fleets are ordering trucks according to their standard replacement cycles and also for normal delivery cycles. They are not speculating about the future direction of the freight market because there is too much uncertainty. This is a ‘wait and see’ approach.”