“Weak Freight Market” Leads To Weakest 6-Month Start For Class 8 Orders In Years

Little Rock, Arkansas – Preliminary North America Class 8 net orders got a boost in June, but still tracking well below 2018’s volume.

ACT Research reports Class 8 orders in June tallied 13,100 units while FTR calculated the total at 13,000.

June’s total was 20% higher than May but still significantly off from 2018.

In fact, FTR reports it’s the weakest 6-month start to a year since 2010.

 

Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles said most orders for 2019 delivery have already been placed.

“The orders are truly a mixed bag. One OEM reportedly started to take orders for 2020, but the other OEMs apparently did not. Without the 2020 orders, the total would have dipped below the 10,000 unit mark,” Ake commented.

Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst attributed the fall in order totals to a “weak freight market and rate conditions” along with a continued “backlog.”

Ake, who is usually optimistic in his analysis, seemed to express some concern, calling the outlook for the economy and freight growth “not promising.”

“The consumer sector is sturdy, but freight growth is expected to moderate the rest of the year. As a result, Class 8 truck build rates should begin to decrease in the coming months,” he said.

 

Further complicating the outlook for the truck market is the “tariff situation,” Ake said.

“Most OEMs are reluctant to quote future trucks due to uncertainty over material costs. Until the tariff situation is resolved, it is risky to quote prices for 2020. Fleets are also reluctant to accept material surcharges with this much ambiguity present,” Ake explained.

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