January’s Class 8 North American orders just cleared 18,000, down 48% year-over-year but within expectations as fleets’ ordering patterns shifted into a more typical range, analysts said.
Analysts noted also the underlying conditions in trucking still present challenges largely due to inventories remaining at high levels. However, Class 8 demand should remain above replacement levels.
January’s preliminary order intake was 18,197, said ACT Research.
“We were looking for a midpoint in the 19,000 to 20,000 range. December was an outlier, as was November. But this is where we are expecting to see things live for the next, probably, at least three months, if not longer,” ACT analyst Steve Tam told Transport Topics.
Orders in November totaled 16,770 and were the worst in six years; December orders reached 28,100, ACT said.
He added the large drop month-over-month was typical due to ordering patterns, “so this doesn’t come as a surprise at all.”
The research firm FTR Associates put the preliminary orders at 18,062 units, which was down 35% month-over-month.
FTR noted net Class 8 orders for five of the past eight months were below 20,000 with a monthly average for the period of 21,200 units. Since September, order activity has been unusually volatile with the minimum monthly swing more than 6,500 units.
January’s Class 8 order total annualized to 217,000 units, the company said in a statement.