January truck orders drop 18%

January net orders for Class 5-8 trucks dropped 18 percent from January 2009, after a December buying flurry ahead of the 2010 EPA engine emissions mandate, according to ACT Research.

As ACT had anticipated, January orders fell to 6,513 units, the firm announced.

North American Class 8 production, however, topped projections, dipping 3 percent below January 2009. ACT said stronger orders late last year to beat the 2010 engine deadline pushed production into January. Medium-duty orders declined 6 percent from January of last year.

“Despite an economic recovery that has begun to take hold, the implementation of the EPA 2010 emission mandate has made a difficult situation more challenging,” said Kenny Vieth, partner and senior analyst with ACT. “While supply-demand imbalance in the U.S. freight market continues to improve, we are still a quarter or two away from material improvement in freight rates, which should boost used truck demand and valuations.”