Net orders for new Class 8 trucks dropped 11 percent in February from January, the second straight month of decline, according to research firm FTR Associates.
Preliminary data released by FTR on Monday indicate total Class 8 tractor orders reached 22,243 units in February. Final data will be released later in March.
The slide in order numbers doesn’t necessarily indicate slackening demand or an economic slowdown, said Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis.
“Despite the drop in February, demand for new trucks remains robust as fleets continue to replace aging equipment,” Starks said in a statement.
Also, orders for Class 8 trucks surged last year. According to ACT Research, truck manufacturers had a production backlog of 125,000 units in January.
Net orders for Class 8 trucks leaped 71.7 percent in 2011, and December was the second best month for Class 8 orders in six years, according to ACT Research.
The drop in new truck orders isn’t surprising, considering the strong run up in orders last year. In addition, most carriers are still replacing older trucks.
“With the driver supply moderately tight and freight demand healthy, but not surging, fleets are likely to only add limited capacity,” Starks said.
“Absent additional freight growth or regulatory hurdles, the new truck market in 2012 is unlikely to see the type of growth that we had in 2011.”