According to ACT Research, January truck orders reached 22,600 units, making last month the fourth consecutive month where net tractor orders in the United States topped 20,000.
January’s number showed growth when compared to December, but fell 25.4 percent, year over year.
Trailer orders have grown faster than truck orders since September. Even with these somewhat positive numbers, analysts at BB&T Capital Markets predict production rates will be down for the first quarter of the year. Manufacturers are looking to work in shut-down days throughout the quarter, and Daimler Trucks will cut 1,300 jobs in the next few months.
Analysts wrote that if the overall trucking market remains sluggish past the first quarter and the entire first half of the year ends on a down note, that downward trajectory will easily blend into the second half of the year. Many in the industry have predicted a trucking acceleration for the second half of 2013.
According to ACT’s numbers, truck production will decline in 2013, year over year, by 5.2 percent to 264,306 units. Most of this decrease will come from first-quarter negative growth of 25.2 percent, year over year, and a second-quarter decline of 15.7 percent. BB&T added that other industry watchers see a much bigger year-over-year decline in 2013, with some predicting a production range topping out at 230,0000 units. - Jon Ross