The painful decline in Class 8 orders that we have been documenting on a month-by-month basis has resulted in truck manufacturing orders hitting a decade low in 2019, according to Americas Commercial Transportation (ACT) Research Co., a leading publisher of commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis, and forecasting services for the North American market.
Full year volume for Class 8 orders was 181,000 for the year, compared to 490,100 units in 2018.
Sales in December followed the year's trend, ticking lower on a year over year basis despite showing a 14% sequential rise.
Federal tax rate cuts in 2018 encouraged carriers to expand their fleets, resulting in major backlogs and tough comparable numbers for 2019, according to the Triad Business Journal.
In addition to the tough comps, ACT President and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth also blamed the issues on "lower freight demand" in 2019.
Vieth said: "Overbuying through 2019 and insufficient freight to absorb the ensuing capacity overhang continued to weigh on the front end of the Class 8 demand cycle in December. Recalling July and August, orders were down 80% from the corresponding months in 2018.”
As we have documented throughout the year, some truck manufacturers, like Mack Trucks and Volvo Trucks, announced layoffs. Volvo announced last year that it would lay off 700 people at its Dublin, Virginia plant. Daimler laid off 900 workers in October 2019 and Navistar will lay off 1,300 workers this month.
Some trucking companies that we have profiled, like Terrill Transportation, have closed down entirely.