Class 8 orders drop again in July

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Preliminary reports from both FTR Associates and ACT Research point to another month-over-month drop in North American Class 8 truck orders.

FTR is reporting orders in the month were 17,307, while ACT reports prelim orders of 17,600.

ACT says these numbers are “as expected” and that the number of net orders in the month “falls into the ‘meets or exceeds’ category” as far as forecasts were concerned.

FTR reports that year to date orders annualize to 251,700 units. 2012 totaled 224,600 Class 8 orders. July orders were down 7 percent from June, FTR says, but were up 38 percent over the same month in 2012.

ACT echoes that number, reporting a 36 percent year-over-year increase.

“Orders were generally in line with expectations (but weighted towards the lower end) given the normal softness seen during the summer months. Going forward, we will be watching the August order numbers closely. Any further softening in the numbers would suggest that FTR would likely need to lower the Q4 production forecast,” says Eric Starks, FTR’s president. “However, the recent uptick in manufacturing keeps us optimistic that order activity will remain at healthy levels.”

Steve Tam, ACT’s vice president of its commercial vehicle sector, said the Class 8 backlog “is likely to fall modestly in July as build plans called for production above the level of incoming orders.”

“Freight hauling capacity continues to tighten, while trucker profitability is also strengthening,” Tam says. “Both factors bode well for increased truck demand in the near and mid-term.”