Monthly Class 8 truck net orders for July dropped 7% from June, but still remain significantly higher than a year ago, FTR Associates reported. The 17,307 units ordered in July are the fewest since September 2012, although that figure remains 38% better than July 2012.

Current year orders for the six-month period ending in July annualize to 251,700 units for 2013, which would be up over the 224,600 units in 2012.

Preliminary order numbers are for all major North American OEMs.

“Orders were generally in line with expectations (but weighted towards the lower end) given the normal softness seen during the summer months,” said Eric Starks, FTR president. “Going forward, we will be watching the August order numbers closely. Any further softening in the numbers would suggest that FTR would likely need to lower the Q4 production forecast. However, the recent uptick in manufacturing keeps us optimistic that order activity will remain at healthy levels.”

Final data for July will be available from FTR later in the month as part of its North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service.