Preliminary North American Class 8 truck orders dropped 72% last month from September 2018 levels, according to FTR Associates.

"Fleets are moving around or canceling orders previously placed but are not ordering many new trucks for Q4 delivery," according to the transportation intelligence provider.

"Carriers have not begun ordering for 2020 requirements yet due to the tariffs and economic uncertainty."

Don Ake, FTR vice president, commercial vehicles, says trucking fleets "are nervous. Freight growth continues to ease back. The trade issue with China looms. In this environment, fleets see no reason to begin ordering for 2020 until Q4."

FTR reports that Class 8 orders did rise 13% from August 2019 to September 2019, but "unfortunately, (orders) are stuck at the bottom of the cycle," says Ake. "It's basically the same story as the last several months. All the orders needed for 2019 were placed months ago and fleets are now adjusting delivery dates and finalizing requirements."

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