Indicators: Truck orders continue downslide, hit four-year low

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Updated Apr 7, 2016

CCJ’s Indicators rounds up the latest reports on trucking business indicators on rates, freight, equipment, the economy and more.

316ordersPreliminary data released by FTR Tuesday suggests North American Class 8 truck net orders dropped to their lowest level since September 2012 in March – the third consecutive month for underwhelming orders.

FTR says 15,800 units were placed on order last month, 12 percent below February and down 37 percent from March of last year. March 2016 was the weakest month of March for heavy truck orders since 2010.

“Orders were slightly below expectations as the market continues its downward slide,” says Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR. “Fleets are being very cautious in the current uncertain economic environment.”

A manufacturing recession has slowed freight and fleets have found they have sufficient trucks to meet current demand.

“Some fleets are also delaying replacing older units until conditions improve,” Ake adds. “There are very few dealer stock orders, since inventories are sufficient and OEM lead times are short.”

Class 8 orders have now totaled 245,000 over the past 12 months and FTR says they are expected to remain under 20,000 units for “the next few months” as the market bottoms out.

“OEM’s continue to reduce production rates in response to an expected 26 percent drop in build this year,” Ake says. “Inventories remain high and retail sales have moderated, so order rates should remain subdued in the short-term. Manufacturing is expected to improve soon and this is expected to increase freight levels and stabilize truck demand.”


Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]