FTR Associates on Thursday, Jan. 5, released preliminary data showing December Class 8 truck total net orders for all major North American OEMs reaching the second-highest level in three years at 29,777 units. December orders were up 46 percent month over month, with a year-over-year increase from December 2011 of 11 percent, reversing the decline of disappointing November order activity. Class 8 orders for the final three months of 2011 annualize to 312,000 units.
“The rebound in orders to finish 2011 reaffirms our confidence that new truck demand will not wane in 2012,” says Jonathan Starks, FTR director of transportation analysis. Starks says the six-month annualized order rate of 280,000 units confirms FTR’s outlook for this year: modest growth over 2011, but relatively flat production versus the last six months.
Starks says the final ruling for trucking’s hours-of-service regulations, scheduled to start in July 2013, negates any possible positive impact for truck demand in 2012. “We expect to see orders ease late in the first quarter as trucking operations prepare for the start of the freight season,” he says.