Preliminary data released by Nashville-based FTR Associates indicates Class 8 net orders for all major North American OEMs totaled 21,792 units in October. However, rather than reflecting any immediate positive changes for trucking, according to the transportation forecasting firm, the impressive numbers result from fleets scrambling to get orders in for trucks powered by 2007 engines ahead of the new EPA emissions rules taking effect at the top of the year. FTR said October’s order volume amounts to a 104% increase over September and a 117% year-over-year increase.
“All indications are that the October increase is due to the filling up of remaining 2009 production slots for trucks with the older 2007 engine technology and to avoid the new 2010 engines, which due to tighter emission standards will be more expensive and will employ new technology,” said FTR president Eric Starks. “Significantly, the order activity was broad-based among the OEMs from fleets of various sizes and did not appear to be dealer restocking.
“We are encouraged that fleets have developed enough confidence in the economic recovery that they have been willing to make such commitments at this time,” he continued. “However, we believe this is a temporary situation that may actually take orders away from early 2010 so our forecast for next year remains very conservative until we see economic activity to support solid orders going forward.”
For the last three months, Class 8 orders were received at an annualized rate of 172,300, significantly better than early 2009, reported FTR. That figure includes orders for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as well as exports.
Final data for October will be available from FTR later in the month as part of their North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service. Contact Helen Lile via [email protected] or phone 888-988-1699 x 45 for more information.