Preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 21,300 units in December, down 24% sequentially from November and 43% from December 2017.
Complete industry data for December, including final order numbers, will be published in mid-January, ACT Research said.
“For all of 2018, Class 8 orders totaled 490,100 units, far outstripping the previous annual order tally set in 2004 at 390,000 units, with orders averaging 40,800 units per month last year,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Owing to its status as the strongest order month of the year, seasonal adjustment is always unkind to Class 8 orders in December, dropping the month’s volume to a 25-month low of 17,300 units.
“It is important to put slowing orders into context. With a 300,000-plus unit backlog and a solidly booked build schedule, the drop in orders is in line with expectations.”
About medium duty orders, Vieth said: “After robust orders in November, Classes 5-7 orders moderated into the end of the year, falling to a six-month low of 21,500 units, and a considerable drop from the 25,200 unit-per-month average the medium duty industry enjoyed throughout 2018.
“Seasonality is not a factor in December for medium duty vehicles, but the month’s orders had the ignominy of being the first negative year-over-year comparison in 15 months, falling 4.6% compared to December 2017.”