An FTR official said the Class 8 market remains “red-hot” and that the capacity crunch is transforming into a capacity crisis and many fleets of all sizes, in all markets, across the country are scrambling to add trucks as fast as they can. Pictured is the Volvo VNL 760. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)
Orders for Class 8 truck continues to be strong, according to the two companies that analyze sales in the commercial vehicle market.
ACT Research said preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 40,600 units in February.
“Robust Class 8 order placements continued in February,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research. “For the month, Class 8 orders totaled 40,600 units – the eighth-best order month on record and the ninth time in history in which orders eclipsed the 40,000-unit mark. Seasonal adjustment reduces the month’s order largess to 37,600 units, up 63 percent compared to last February’s order intake.”
FTR reported preliminary North American Class 8 orders for February at 40,200 units.
Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR, said the February volume was much above expectations and exceeded the 40,000 level for the second consecutive month, something that has not happened since November and December 2014.
February order activity was down 15 percent month-over-month but up 76 percent year-over-year.
Fleets are striving to add hauling capacity in response to strong freight growth, Ake said, adding that OEM orders were sturdy across the board for all markets and truck types.
North American Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 333,000 units.
“The Class 8 market remains red-hot,” Ake said. “The capacity crunch is transforming into a capacity crisis and many fleets of all sizes in all markets across the country are scrambling to add trucks as fast as they can. Robust freight growth is the primary driver, and ELD implementation is just exacerbating a tough situation.
“It looks like fleets held back some orders from the fourth quarter to see if freight growth would continue and if ELDs were final. Now that the environment is more certain, the orders have been pouring in. This upturn looks strikingly similar to 2015, but is now expected to exceed it. Production is ramping up and should remain vibrant into next year.”
ACT Research said preliminary North America Classes 5-8 net order data show the industry booked 67,700 units in February, making it the third-strongest order month since the EPA’07 pre-buy-fueled March 2006 order volume and the fifth-best order month of the millennium.
February’s volume makes it the third-strongest order month since the EPA’07 pre-buy-fueled March 2006 order volume and the fifth-best order month of the millennium.
ACT noted that these numbers are preliminary. Complete industry data for February, including final order numbers, will be published in mid-March.
“Despite falling 17 percent below January’s best-in-12-years order intake, February’s industry order volume still makes it into the pantheon of all-time great months, with both the medium-duty and heavy-duty markets contributing generously to the final order tally,” Vieth said. “On a seasonally adjusted basis, net orders rose 42 percent year-over-year to 63,000 units – also the fifth-best all-time reading.”
After an uninspired rate of order placement in the fourth quarter of 2017, medium duty Classes 5-7 orders have come on strong at the start of 2018.
“In February, Classes 5-7 orders fell 15 percent from January to a still-strong 26,700 units – the second-best month since July 2006 and the third-best month on record,” Vieth said.