Report: heavy-duty truck orders slide as Oct. 1 approaches

| 6/21/2002

Figures released June 19 by Bear Stearns, a banking, trading and brokerage firm, indicate net new orders of Class 8 heavy-duty trucks have fallen sharply as slots for pre-Oct. 1 trucks fill. At the current build rate, the company says it will take about 5.7 months for a new order to be converted into a completed tractor.

In May, net new orders fell about 39 percent from April to 15,528. Bear Stearns says the new figures imply there was a faster than expected slowdown in new orders toward the end of May. Despite the steep decline, orders are up about 84 percent from the same time last year.

Bear Stearns believes the drop in new orders reflects that, as of early May, there are no longer available slots left for pre-October trucks. The firm reports that orders in the first nine business days of May were tracking at about 1,100 per day and then dropped off to about 585 per day as pre-October slots filled.

The company said it expects net new orders "will continue to drop in the coming months back down to the 8,000 to 10,000 range as most large carriers have already ordered and/or received the trucks they will use until the issues surrounding the low-emissions engines have been resolved."

Orders for trailers remained high in May at 16,554, which is 2.7 percent below a recent high in April of 17,005 units, and up 35 percent from last year.