FTR Associates has released preliminary data showing May Class 8 truck net orders at 17,650 units, a modest upturn after four months of decline. Preliminary order numbers are for all major North American OEMs.
May orders were only up 5 percent from a weak April and down a hefty 24 percent from the same month last year, FTR says. The annualized order numbers for the past three month period, including May, now calculate to 216,700 units. FTR says this is significantly lower than the activity seen in the December through February time-frame, when order activity was running at a 308,000 annualized rate.
“The net orders for May were in-line with our modest expectations. Unfortunately, it is well below where many in the industry were expecting to be at this point in time in the recovery,” says Eric Starks, FTR president. “The ongoing weakness is putting additional pressure on the OEMs to lower their build rates over the next several months. With orders hovering near 17,000 units per month and production near 25,000 units per month, it is clear there is a disconnect. A dramatic increase in order activity is needed in order for the OEMs to continue production at their current pace.
“Over the next few months we expect orders to remain near current levels, as the summer is traditionally a slower time of the year for order activity. It is important to note that even with the recent slowing in order activity, the levels are still relatively healthy for the industry.”
Final data for May will be available from FTR later in the month as part of its North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service.