Class 8 orders slide in May

According to a report released by FTR, preliminary Class 8 net orders for May totaled 16,300 units, retreating after a long, steady streak that had begun in October 2016.

May order activity was below expectations, falling 31 percent under April. In spite of this slowdown, Class 8 orders for May 2017 were up 29 percent from last year.  Most OEMs suffered declines in orders to varying degrees for the month. The drop was not totally surprising, as fleets had been placing strong orders for the last several months for second half delivery.

The FTR 2017 forecast looks solid, if orders maintain this pace through the summer. Total orders for the past 12 months have totaled 211,000 units.

“The order numbers are not that worrisome, considering the steady volume of orders over the past seven months. It appears the typical summer order slump just showed up one month early,” says Don Ake, vice president of Commercial Vehicles at FTR.

“It does indicate the market is functioning normally and there is a steady, not robust, upward trend. The slowdown in order activity will give the OEMs a chance to get production lined up with demand.

“We still expect the Class 8 build and sales to continue to increase as the year progresses. May orders were actually very close to our January forecast, so the market continues to move ahead as expected. Orders should continue at about this pace through the summer, which will be good enough to support stronger demand in Q3 and Q4.”

Final data for May will be available from FTR later in the month as part of its North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service.

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