FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for November fell to 27,500, as the market winds down from five consecutive months topping 40,000 units. November orders were the lowest total this year and the weakest since September 2017. However, the drop off in order activity was expected, as OEMs have nearly filled their order boards for 2019. Backlogs will start to recede, but still remain close to record volumes. North American Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 499,000 units.
Don Ake, FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles, comments, “It was expected that orders would fall fairly soon, as the available 2019 slots filled up. A couple of the OEMs that had some open capacity actually had solid order numbers, while the rest appear to be nearly sold out for next year.
“This drop in orders was reasonable considering the huge volumes of the last 5 months, although 27,500 is not that bad of a number. The freight fundamentals remain strong and we still expect the equipment markets to have a great year in 2019.
“We do expect cancellations to rise in November. Not as a result of market weakness, but because backlogs are enormous, and fleets will continue to move orders around as needed. This trend is expected to last well into next year. With OEMs filling up the last available build slots, it is possible that orders may drop below 20,000 in December.”