Wednesday, August 23, 2017

New-truck orders remain strong in July, Class 8s expected to pick up speed in fall


Thursday, August 3, 2017
by THE TRUCKER STAFF

Orders for new trucks are up 36 percent from a year ago, according to ACT Research. Meanwhile, FTR expects that with freight increases and an industry capacity tightening, orders for Class 8s will increase in the fall.
Orders for new trucks are up 36 percent from a year ago, according to ACT Research. Meanwhile, FTR expects that with freight increases and an industry capacity tightening, orders for Class 8s will increase in the fall.

Truck sales took a predictable dip in July, according to two leading industry analysis firms, but even with this slight midsummer swoon, they say the new-truck sales market is reflecting the overall healthy state of the trucking industry.

North American MD & HD Classes 5-8 net orders dropped 12 percent in July from the previous month. However, says Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research, July’s 41,400 net orders reflect a significant improvement in demand that has occurred over the past twelve months.

“Compared to year-ago levels, total Classes 5-8 net orders were up over 36 percent from a seasonally adjusted 30,500 unit tally,” Vieth said.

After a seven-month stretch of NA Classes 5-7 net orders averaging 22,100 units per month, preliminary orders dropped in July, declining to a 13-month low. “Despite the 26 percent decline from June, orders were still 2 percent better than last year,” Vieth said.

Preliminary Class 8 net orders improved incrementally in July, rising 4 percent from June. Compared to last year, July’s orders were up 81 percent. “While down on a nominal basis from the 2017 order trend, seasonal adjustment brings July’s order intake in line with recent activity,” Vieth said. “Over the past six months, Class 8 net orders, seasonally adjusted, have averaged 21,900 units per month.”

FTR’s preliminary figures for Class 8 orders in July were similar to ACT’s. FTR placed Class 8 net orders for July at 18,300 units, a month-over-month improvement of 5 percent and 79 percent better than a year ago. It was the second month in a row orders have increased.

Orders for the past 12 months total 224,000 units. Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR, said the Class 8 market is expected to accelerate in the fall.

“This is a great sign to see orders rising, even slightly, in midsummer,” Ake said.  “This is the beginning of a positive trend that we expect to continue the rest of this year, right into 2018. 

“Freight is on the upswing and industry capacity is tightening.  The equipment markets, both Class 8 and trailers, are starting to respond to this environment.”

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