September marks fourth consecutive month of gains for Class 5-8 orders, ACT says

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Class 8 Tractor Trailer on Road
According to a preliminary report from ACT Research, North American Class 8 vehicle orders for September totaled 31,100 units, up 60% from August — and a leap of 145% from a year ago.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Net orders for Class 8 vehicles in North America were 31,100 units, up 60% from August and a whopping 145% from an easy year-ago comparison, according to a preliminary report released by ACT Research in early October. The North American Classes 5-7 market saw orders at a healthy 26,900 units, up 37% month over month and 48% versus the year-ago September volume.

Complete industry data for September, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-October.

“Preliminary data show that September orders for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles posted positive readings for a fourth consecutive month, after 19 consecutive months of negative year-over-year comparisons. In aggregate, Classes 5-8 orders rose 49% from August and improved 88% compared to year-ago September,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst for ACT Research.

“As orders rebounded to relatively healthy levels early in Q3, most of those orders were targeted at filling open 2020 build slots,” Vieth said of the North American heavy-duty market. “With most of that work done by the end of August, we suspect the lion’s share of September’s orders were booked into 2021.”

Regarding the medium-duty market, Vieth commented, “There is a symbiotic relationship between heavy-duty freight rates and medium-duty demand, and clearly, the shift in consumer spending from experiences [services] to goods has been good for the providers of local trucking services.”

ACT’s State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles report provides a monthly look at 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, and details 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. In the report, the Class 8 market is segmented into trucks and tractors, with and without sleeper cabs.

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