Preliminary Class 8 net orders hit 20,700 units in August, according to data tracked by research firm FTR Transportation Intelligence; 14% above July and 50% better than a year ago.
“August orders continue the positive trend in the Class 8 market,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles, in a statement.
“Orders were up for the third straight month, and it looks like May’s 16,500 orders will be the low point for the year,” he added. “Orders are expected to increase in September, leading into robust order activity in the fourth quarter.”
“For the month, orders rose 49% from easy year-ago comps,” noted Steve Tam, vice president with ACT Research. “Seasonal adjustment boosts August’s order performance to their highest level since April at 23,800 units, a sequential gain of 21%.”
FTR’s Ake pointed out that “freight continues to show some impressive growth” and that’s creating truck capacity tightness in some regions of the U.S., which is expected to spread to more areas as economic growth expands.
August orders should help fill up remaining 2017 build slots, he explained, noting that North American Class 8 orders over the past 12 months now total 231,000 units.
“The capacity crunch will be exacerbated by the ELD mandate, spurring demand for trucks and trailers in 2018,” he explained.
By contrast, North American net orders for Class 5-7 medium-duty trucks has “moderated” over the past two months, according to ACT’s Tam. Preliminary medium duty order numbers indicate a “rebound” from a soft July, rising to 18,800 units, he said. “Despite the relative softness, August’s intake was up 10% year over year,” Tam added.