COLUMBUS, Ind. — Preliminary North American Class 8 net orders in December were 50,900 units, down 2% from November — but a 153% improvement from year-ago December. Demand for Classes 5-7, with orders of 35,100 units, rose 28% sequentially and 73% compared to December 2019. That order volume represents a second-best-ever volume, while the Class 8 net order intake marks the fourth-highest level in history. Complete industry data for December, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-January.
“The pandemic-impacted economy continues to play into the hands of trucking, as consumers continue to substitute spending on services with spending on goods, even as the manufacturing sector begins to ramp,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst for ACT. “Simultaneously, the driver supply remains constrained and that supply-demand imbalance is reflected in rate data. With strong freight volumes, drivers in short supply, rates surging and carrier profits certain to follow, the precise recipe for surging new vehicle demand, which continued in December, is created.”
ACT’s State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales and general state of the on-road heavy- and medium-duty commercial vehicle markets in North America. It differentiates market indicators by Class 5, Classes 6-7 chassis and Class 8 trucks and tractors, detailing activity-related measures such as backlog, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and retail sales. Additionally, Class 5 and Classes 6-7 are segmented by trucks, buses, RVs, and step van configurations. The Class 8 market is segmented into trucks and tractors, with and without sleeper cabs. A first look at preliminary net orders is also published in conjunction with this report.
Regarding the medium-duty market, Vieth pointed to the “symbiotic relationship” between heavy-duty freight rates and the demand for medium-duty vehicles.
“Clearly, the shift in consumer spending from experiences to goods has been good for the providers of local trucking services as e-commerce has grown by leaps and bounds during the pandemic,” he said.
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