Thursday, November 23, 2017

October surge in Class 8 orders seen to portend profitable year ahead in 2018


Monday, November 6, 2017
by THE TRUCKER STAFF

Both ACT Research and FTR reported year-over-year Class 8 net truck orders well above 150 percent in October. Pictured is the Western Star 4900. (Courtesy: DAIMLER TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)
Both ACT Research and FTR reported year-over-year Class 8 net truck orders well above 150 percent in October. Pictured is the Western Star 4900. (Courtesy: DAIMLER TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

Both ACT Research and FTR, the two giant publishers of commercial vehicle data, reported positive outcomes in truck orders for October.

While the numbers between the two varied somewhat, the message was the same: 2017 might easily be headed toward topping 2016 totals.

ACT said North American Class 8 net orders significantly surpassed expectations.

FTR reported October orders were 167 percent higher than the same month one year ago; ACT said 160 percent.

“October’s orders represented a year-over-year jump from a particularly easy, cancellation impacted, year-ago comp,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT. “October is typically the second-strongest order month of the year. As such, seasonal adjustment boost lowers the monthly intake to 31,600 units, or a 379,400 unit seasonally adjusted annual rate, up 20 percent from September.”

The strength exhibited by Class 8 orders in October highlights improving freight conditions and freight rates in 2017 that will lead to a rebound in carrier profitability in 2018, Vieth said.

“October’s preliminary orders clearly put upward pressure on ACT’s expectations for Class 8 demand next year,” he said. “At the same time, we recognize the potential that this year’s NACV show in September may have pulled forward the timing of orders that would normally have been placed through the fourth quarter.”

FTR set preliminary North American Class 8 net orders for October at 35,700 units, a month-over-month increase of 62 percent.

Order volume for October met FTR’s expectations for the market’s early fall buying season.

The growth was not uniform across all OEM’s, but nearly every manufacturer saw a month-over month increase. North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have now totaled 261,500 units, FTR said.

“Class 8 orders surged in October,” said Jonathan Starks, FTR chief operating officer. “The market seems well situated for a strong production environment to persist into 2018. FTR has been anticipating a strong 2017 fall order season since early this year. The market continues to follow our expectations and highlights that the market fundamentals remain solid as we approach 2018.”

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