Preliminary truck orders down in April
May 3, 2012
Preliminary N.A. class 8 truck net order data dropped for the fourth straight month in April, down another 14% from March. Orders show that just 16,900 units were booked in April. This is the lowest monthly total since 15k were ordered in September of 2010. Orders continue to remain well below year-ago levels, dropping 55%. This is the weakest year-over-year comparison since May of 2009, when we were right in the midst of the Great Recession.
April was the fifth month of the last six in which we saw both month-over-month and year-over-year declines. On an annualized basis, the totals are now running near 200k units – well below the 300k unit pace that we had at the end of 2011. April orders annualize to just 202,500 units. This is significantly below the 6-month and 12-month rates of ~270k units.
The April data iss at the low end of expectations, and those expectations have been moving lower the last few months. We are now essentially through the typical ordering season, and we can expect order activity to remain stuck in the sub-20k level during the summer months. Our truck production forecast is calling for modest growth over 2011, but relatively flat production versus the last six months. Initially, OEM build plans indicated a possible ramping up of production during the second half of 2012 – those expectations are likely to change as the slowing order rate continues. If not, then we will be overbuilding in 2012 and cutting production in 2013.
With the driver supply moderately tight and freight demand healthy, but not surging, fleets are continuing to add only limited capacity to their truck fleets. Most are simply holding pat and replacing necessary equipment. Absent additional freight growth or regulatory hurdles, the new truck market in 2012 is unlikely to see the type of growth that we had in 2011.
- Source: FTR Associates
- This is the preliminary net orders data only. The final data is released after the 15th of the month.
- The data is for total N.A. This includes U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Export data
- The market indicator data includes all major North American truck builders.
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