Preliminary data for orders of Class 8 trucks in September didn’t set a record such as has been the case several times in 2018, but nevertheless the numbers continue to support the fact that 2018 likely will continue to be a banner year.
That according to data released this week by the two organizations that gather and analyze the information — ACT Research and FTR.
ACT said preliminary net order data show the industry booked 42,800 units in September, falling moderately after back-to-back record order months.
FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for September came in at 42,300 units for the month.
“Preliminary data indicate that in September, North American Class 8 orders were down 19 percent from August, but up 90 percent compared to year-ago September,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Through year-to-date September, Class 8 orders have totaled 397,200 units, an average monthly order intake of 44,100 units/month. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the past three months’ orders represent the three strongest order months in history, with the past three months’ Class 8 orders climbing to 711,000 units SAAR. Reaching back to June, on a seasonally adjusted basis the past four months are four of the five strongest in history.”
FTR said September Class 8 order activity was the 10th best month ever, but with most of 2018 hitting all-time highs, was only the 5th highest monthly volume this year.
Sturdy freight growth continues to strain industry capacity and fleets are placing orders a year out to secure new truck availability throughout 2019. North American Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 497,000 units, FTR said.
“The pressure is on fleets to add capacity to keep up with a robust freight market,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “The economy is surging right now, putting stress on shippers to find trucks to deliver goods on time. Fleets don’t want to be stuck in the same situation next year, so they are placing huge orders for trucks well ahead of time.
“The focus now turns to the supply chain. Parts and component suppliers have struggled to keep pace with the growing OEM builds this year. Demand, as indicated by the surge in orders, will be even stronger next year. It is uncertain if suppliers can meet this challenge, as they compete for workers and materials in a vibrant economy.”
Both organizations will report final numbers later in October.
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