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May 4, 2015 5:30 PM, EDT

Truck Orders Fall 10% in April, Reports Say

Truck orders slipped 10% last month from the year-earlier period on a preliminary basis as industry trends return to more typical seasonal patterns, ACT Research and consulting firm FTR reported.

The total of 22,400 was the lowest since November 2013, according to ACT. FTR said the order book was 22,076 units.

“Rather than simply a harbinger of weakness, the slower order intake should be taken in a broader context,” said ACT President Kenny Vieth.

Class 8 orders have eased gradually this year, including an 11% drop in April from the March total, working their way down from the December peak of about 44,000 orders that capped the second-largest year ever.

The report from the Bloomington, Indiana, company said orders now have totaled 373,000 over the past 12 months, or an average of 31,000.

“It is expected that order rates will continue to fall throughout the summer months,” FTR reported, saying the order pace was aligned with both its order and production forecasts.

“Backlogs are so high that production rates are supported all the way into the third quarter,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles.

He forecast that May orders might fall another 10% or more and drop below 20,000. In May of last year, the order pace was nearly 26,000.

“That is not a problem for 2015 as long as near-term production slots fill up,” Ake said.

“It would appear that the market volatility has ended for this cycle.”