FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for February remained subdued for the second consecutive month at 16,700 units, +5% m/m (month-over-month) but down 58% y/y (year-over-year). January-February 2019 are the lowest two-month period since October-November 2016.
Several OEMs are booked solid for 2019 with limited sales slots open for the remainder of the year, so orders are likely to stay in this depressed range until 2020 order boards are opened up. The weaker orders mean that backlogs will tumble for the second straight month, but they remain at historically high levels. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 429,000 units.
Don Ake, FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles, comments, “Fleets that need to order trucks are looking for any available open build slot, regardless of brand. Specifying is also more difficult as the supply chain for parts and components stays tight. Production continues at high rates, as OEMs build those record orders that were placed in 2018.
“The freight market started off the year strong and carriers have still been able to hire enough drivers to expand their fleets. Trucking capacity is not in the chaotic state it was in 2018, but business remains vibrant. Some moderation in freight growth is expected in the second half of the year and this should loosen things up a bit.”