Data compiled by consulting firm ACT Research Co. indicates Class 8 net orders in North America continue to drop, while medium-duty truck orders remain “solidified,” in the words of Steve Tam, the firm’s VP-commercial vehicle sector.
According to ACT’s numbers, net Class 8 orders for North America slipped to 16,600 units in November, nearly 60% lower compared to the same month last year.
“Unfortunately, little of the decline can be accounted for by seasonality,” Tam noted in a statement.
“November was the weakest Class 8 net order month since August 2010 on a seasonally adjusted basis and September 2012 on an actual basis,” he added. “A glut of inventory in the broader economy has led to slowing freight and lower freight rates. This, in turn, has caused truckers to hit the pause button on truck orders.”
That’s also now being reflected in truck production pullbacks, exemplified by the projected layoff of 734 workers at the Volvo Trucks plant in Dublin, VA.
By contrast, North American medium-duty Class 5-7 net orders held steady at 18,700 units, Tam pointed out.
“More prevalent direct exposure to facets of the economy other than those that generate freight has allowed demand for medium-duty vehicles to remain more stable,” he explained. “Despite falling 15% month over month, the year-over-year and year-to-date comparisons reveal growth in the mid-single-digit percentage point range.”