According to preliminary data released by FTR Associates, December’s Class 8 truck net orders were slightly higher than November’s, but represent a steep decline from December 2011.

FTR said orders came in at 20,836 units for December 2012, 6% higher than November. The number, though, is 30% below the December 2011 total of 30,100.

Orders for the last three months of 2012 were above the prior six months of the year, FTR said.

“December orders were disappointing and were at the low end of expectations.  This confirms our forecast for a weaker start to 2013.  It is possible that fleets have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for a resolution to the fiscal cliff. If so, we would expect to see some better numbers in January,” said Eric Starks, president.

Final data for December will be available later in this month as part of FTR’s North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service.