Heavy-duty truck deliveries in the USA have fallen by a dramatic 64 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 following record sales during the same period in 2018.
The major issue affecting the US market according to reports is the backlog of orders hanging over from last year and the difficulty manufacturers have had keeping up with the previous demand.
One US analyst has said it is difficult to put more in an already full bucket.
US truck makers have ramped up production by working overtime, but they haven’t added any new shifts or factories.
Analysts say that if a buyer placed an order today it would probably not be delivered until early 2020 with the national production backlog amounting to around 257,000 trucks.
That is about 50,000 more than the order backlog at the same time in 2018.
There were just under half a million new trucks ordered in the US in 2018 with orders for 489,000 taken last year, which was an industry record.
“The pull forward of orders last year means there are few choice build slots left and thus orders have been weak the last three months,” said industry analyst Don Ake, of FTR Transportation Intelligence.
“You won’t see a year-over-year order increase until October at the earliest,” Ake added.
Industry experts say orders should bounce back later this year as truck makers work to meet the current backlog
Truck operator profits remain strong and analysts say demand will stay strong in a healthy US economy.
Freight capacity in the US was so tight last year that several major freight carriers stopped accepting shipments in the second and third quarters simply because they did not have enough trucks to handle the work.
The laws of supply and demand saw prices go up 30 per cent for several months but these have now eased according to reports.
According to another analyst around 20 per cent of operators say they plan to add trucks, while around12 per cent say they plan to reduce fleets.