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Randall.jpg Photo: Neil Abt/Fleet Owner
Mack's Jonathan Randall (left) and Roy Horton conduct a media update in Bellevue, WA.

Despite slowdown in orders, Mack says market remains 'hot'

The Class 8 truck market remains “hot” and there are no indications of a significant downturn on the horizon despite a slowdown in orders this summer, according to Jonathan Randall, senior vice president of North American sales and marketing for Mack Trucks.

Randall made the remarks last week during media trip showcasing Mack’s growing footprint in the western United States. Mack is still projecting 310,000 North American truck deliveries industrywide for all of 2019, with replacement orders of sleeper models driving the growth.

Orders have fallen but that was expected as "you can’t continue to fill an already fuel cup," said Randall, adding that some observers are “trying to talk themselves into a downturn.”

Randall noted order cancellations remain low, a sign that fears of any significant slowdown are overblown. There is still a solid backlog to work from and production remains steady, he said.

That includes initial orders for 2020 delivery, which are off to a strong start. Randall said Mack was seeing higher sales in nearly all segments in 2019, and there continues to be growing orders for its integrated powertrain.

Separately, ACT Research said in a report the current Class 8 build rates may suggest upside to the 2019 forecast, but “erring on the side of caution remains the right call.”

Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst, said Class 8 market activity “is rapidly approaching the precipice, and everyone should be preparing for a rapid downward correction in production levels in the next handful of months."

During a recent Cowen conference call, an executive with a small fleet said truck manufacturers have been approaching him about ordering, which he called a sharp contrast from the overheated market a year ago.

Other fleet representatives said orders for 2019 were mainly replacement vehicles, and that they were not in a rush to begin order negotiations because pricing could ease later this year.

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