November truck orders slide to lowest point in 4 years

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Preliminary North American Class 8 orders for November weren’t much to be thankful for, falling 21% from October according to preliminary released by FTR Tuesday.

The 17,300 units booked last month were the lowest total for November since 2015 and 39% lower than the same month a year ago.

“The fall order season has gotten off to a slow start,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president commercial vehicles. “Freight growth has stalled from the high rates of last year. This is causing fleets to be much more measured in their ordering for 2020.”

Ake said fleets remain cautious heading into 2020, placing small orders and not extending orders much beyond the first quarter. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months total 180,000 units.

“There still will be plenty of freight to haul, so we expect fleets will continue to be profitable and to replace older equipment,” Ake said. “However, there won’t be a need for much additional equipment on the roads.”

Manufacturing has receded for four straight months, Ake said, slowing economic growth and fostering “a great deal of uncertainty in the environment, which is creating apprehension in the trucking industry. The trade war and tariffs are destabilizing prices and supply chains. And the tumultuous political climate just adds to an uneasy mix. The industry thrives on stability, but we are now on a rocky road.”

According to ACT Research, Class 5-7 orders fell 8% month-over-month to 15,300 units.