FTR, ACT Research report disappointing November Class 8 order results

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Tim Denoyer, ACT’s vice president and senior analyst, said the freight market downturn worsened in the past month and uncertainty surrounding trade and tariffs continue to weigh on truck buyers’ psyches. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

The two companies known for their collection and analysis of trucking industry information reported a drop in Class 8 orders.

FTR reported preliminary North American Class 8 orders for November at a “disappointing 17,300 units, down 21% from October.” It was the lowest November total since 2015 and was 39% lower than the same month a year ago, FTR said.

ACT Research noted that North American Class 8 orders failed to sustain momentum created in October.

ACT Research Preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 17,500 units in November, down 20% from October,

FTR said fleets remained extremely cautious heading into 2020, placing small orders and not extending orders much beyond the first quarter.  A couple OEMs reported decent order activity, but total orders fell below expectations. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 180,000 units.

“The fall order season has gotten off to a slow start. Freight growth has stalled from the high rates of last year,” said Don Ake, vice president commercial vehicles. “This is causing fleets to be much more measured in their ordering for 2020. There still will be plenty of freight to haul, so we expect fleets will continue to be profitable and to replace older equipment. However, there won’t be a need for much additional equipment on the roads.”

Ake said there was still a great deal of uncertainty in the environment which is creating apprehension in the trucking industry. Manufacturing has receded for four straight months, slowing economic growth. The trade war and tariffs are destabilizing prices and supply chains. And the tumultuous political climate just adds to an uneasy mix. The industry thrives on stability, but we are now on a rocky road.”

Tim Denoyer, ACT’s vice president and senior analyst, said the freight market downturn worsened in the past month and uncertainty surrounding trade and tariffs continue to weigh on truck buyers’ psyches.

“With rising pressure on carrier profits from the combined impact of lower rates and the recent, rather sudden jump in insurance premia, recent events have not developed in the industry’s favor,” Denoyer said. “While private fleets continue to add capacity on the retail end, the market is increasingly heeding for-hire price signals and the stage is being set to right-size the fleet, bringing it closer to equilibrium with the work to be done.”

For more information on FTR, visit www.ftrintel.com.

For more information on ACT Research visit www.actresearch.net.

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