Preliminary reports from ACT Research and FTR depict that commercial vehicle orders are the lowest they have been in four years.
FTR released its preliminary Class 8 net orders for June at 13,000 units, 8% below May and -34% Y/Y. June 2016 order activity was the lowest monthly total since July 2012 and the worst June since 2009, FTR said.
According to ACT Research, 28,300 new Classes 5-8 vehicle orders were booked for June. Of those, Class 8 garnered 13,100 orders and for Classes 5-7, 15,200 orders were placed. Final June numbers will be published in mid-July.
“The pace of commercial vehicle orders slowed in seasonal fashion into the first month of summer,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President & Senior Analyst. June’s MD & HD net order total volume was the lowest monthly order total since July 2012. Seasonally adjusted, at 31,500 units, it was the lowest total since September 2012.”
Vieth said that the pull-back in medium duty orders was more a reflection of past strength, rather than current weakness. “The pull-back of the past two months follows a three-month stretch from February to April in which medium duty orders were booked at a volume well ahead of demand,” he added.
FTR said it expects Class 8 orders to remain tepid through the summer months. All OEM’s were equally impacted by slow order intake. The annualized rate of orders continues to drop, at 162,000 now for past three months, 185,000 for the past six months and 224,000 over the past 12 months.
“The Class 8 market is stuck in a holding pattern, at the bottom end of this cycle,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR. “Fleets are cautious as freight demand has cooled off this year. There are enough trucks to handle freight right now with carriers are in a wait-and-see mode, before adding trucks or replacing older units.”
“This is what the summer looks like in a market down cycle, so we can expect this level of activity for a couple more months,” Ake added. “We do anticipate higher orders later this year. However, the volume of orders will be determined by the strength of the economy and freight activity at that time.”
Final data for June will be available from FTR later in the month as part of its North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service.