Truck order forecast for 2019 revised upward on expected freight growth

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Following strong truck order numbers for 2017 and a record 2018, FTR has raised its 2019 forecast for Class 8 trucks and commercial trailers.

North American Class 8 factory shipments are now forecast to be 350,000 units in 2019, up 8 percent year-over-year. Commercial trailer production, not including medium-duty lowbeds, are expected to hit 310,000 units, just under this year’s expected volume.

“We increased our forecasts for 2019 based on our models indicating continued strong freight growth generating robust demand for equipment through Q3 of next year,” says Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles commented. “OEM component suppliers have also done a much better job delivering on time, allowing production rates to increase. If this continues, we expect a record Class 8 build in 2019 for a year not impacted by a pre-buy. Trailers could also set a record, if sales are steady through the end of the year.”

FTR says its medium-duty (Class 4-7) forecast has not changed, and factory shipments are expected to be relatively flat next year.

Class 8 orders set a record during 2018Q3, pushing backlogs almost 7 percent higher than the previous record. Trailer orders crushed the monthly record in September by almost 10,000 units, and backlogs are barely below the all-time high.