Class 8 orders remain soft

Preliminary Class 8 truck orders totaled 17,700 units in January, according to both FTR and ACT Research, down about 12% from December but up 12% year-over-year. January continued the trend of the last four months, with orders averaging below 19,000 units. The lower number suggest fleets are ordering only the equipment they are sure they need in the short term, FTR reported.

It expects orders to stay in this narrow range for the first quarter. “The Class 8 market remains in equilibrium with orders well matched to production, stuck at close to replacement demand levels. Fleets remain profitable and are continuing to replace older units according to planned cycles.

The smaller fleets are being more cautious because revenue is declining from the previous years,” said Don Ake, vice-president, commercial vehicles. “The freight market is still sluggish, but it has plateaued at a high level. The market is pausing to take a breather after a couple of banner years and the equipment market is stagnant as a result.

Even though the trade deals have reduced the amount of economic uncertainty, the upcoming election is restricting business investment both inside and outside the industry.”

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