FTR Associates on Wednesday, July 6, released preliminary data showing June Class 8 truck total net orders for all major North American OEMs at 20,944, down 9 percent from May. June is the second consecutive month of declining orders after the recent peak was reached in April of more than 37,000 units ordered.
FTR says, however, that underlying strength remains evident, as orders for June were 33 percent higher than the same month a year ago. Orders received in the past six months annualize to 323,900 units, also reflecting strong demand for new equipment, according to FTR. Eric Starks, FTR president, says May typically starts the seasonal slowdown in order activity as many fleets already have placed their orders for the year by that point.
“A decline from May to June was therefore expected and does not signal any significant weakening in underlying demand,” Starks says. “We believe that the OEMs are nearly fully booked for the year and are constrained in their ability to add more capacity, so any slowdown in order activity will have little effect on the 2011 production numbers.”
Starks says FTR expects demand to begin picking up seasonally once again in the fourth quarter. “The strength of that upturn will determine the durability of the recovery and set the stage for 2012,” he says.