“Historic Backlogs” Continue To Pound Class 8 Truck Sales, Down 58% From 2018

Little Rock, Arkansas – Preliminary data on Class 8 truck orders in North America show a subdued market.

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for February came in at 16,700 units, while ACT Research had the preliminary total at 16,900 units.

The totals represent an increase of 5% month-over-month but down a whopping 58% year-over-year. In fact, January-February 2019 are the lowest two-month period since October-November 2016, FTR reported.

“February marks the third consecutive month of orders meaningfully below the current rate of build. Over that three-month period, Class 8 orders have been booked at a 194,000 SAAR,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst.


Both FTR and ACT analysts explained the reason orders are way off of their 2018 pace is because of an historic order backlog and unwillingness by OEMs to take new orders. This trend is likely to continue, analysts predict, as several OEM’s are booked solid for 2019 with limited sales slots open for the remainder of the year.

Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, commented, “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.”

Ake remained positive about the remainder of 2019. “The freight market started off the year strong and carriers have still been able to hire enough drivers to expand their fleets,” he said.

He continued, “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.”


Vieth echoed much of Ake’s analysis. “We continue to believe that current order weakness has more to do with the very large Class 8 backlog and orders already booked than with the current erosion of the truck-to-freight supply-demand balance,” he said.

Transportation Nation Network will continue to follow the Class 8 truck market and bring you the latest updates and analysis.

(featured image courtesy of Mack Trucks)

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