FTR Associates on Monday, Feb. 6, released preliminary data showing January Class 8 truck total net orders of 24,906 units for all major North American OEMs, down 17 percent month over month from December and 9 percent lower versus January 2011. Although current orders show negative comparisons, the January activity is similar to that reported over the last six months and at close to 25,000 units remains in positive territory, FTR reports.
“January’s orders were firmly within our expectations,” says Jonathan Starks, FTR director of transportation analysis. “We continue to expect strong order activity as we finish the first quarter in preparation for the modestly robust freight environment that we anticipate for 2012.”
Starks says the three-month annualized rate of 300,000 orders is slightly above FTR’s current 2012 production outlook but below the highs seen back in 2005 and 2006. “Back then, we peaked at an annualized order rate of over 550,000 units, and production hit 372,000 vehicles,” he says. “The vehicle markets have rebounded strongly the past two years but are well below their pre-recession peaks.”