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.”