Prelim numbers show slip in Class 8 orders in March

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According to preliminary data released this week by FTR Associates, Class 8 truck orders for the month of March totaled 21,817 units, account for a 4 percent drop from February’s unusually strong showing. The numbers are for all major North American manufacturers.

However, the prelim data points to strong year-over-year growth — 11 percent — and, when combined with numbers from January and February numbers, an annualized rate of 266,808 units for 2013.

The numbers will be finalized in the middle of the month, FTR says, and that anything above 19,000 orders adds to an already existing backlog of orders.

FTR president Eric Starks says the next few months will be telling as far as what to expect for 2013: “If orders come in nearer to 25,000 units for the next three months it would make us feel more comfortable about moving our forecast higher for the second half of the year,” Starks said. “Also, the industry will have to be careful looking at the year-over-year changes for orders through the summer as we saw a noticeable fall off in order activity in the middle of last year. Therefore, we would expect to see healthy year-over-year gains over the next five months.”