Class 8 truck orders continue to set historic records this summer, according to the latest numbers released by two research firms.
Preliminary North American Class 8 orders for August – typically a weak order month – topped the historic records set in July, both FTR and ACT reported this week. FTR reports that 52,400 units were ordered in August; ACT reports the Class 8 orders at 53,100.
Orders are up 153% year over year, according to FTR's Class 8 numbers. Six of the top 12 order months on record happened in the first eight months of 2018. Class 8 orders are up to 477,000 units over the past 12 months, according to FTR.
“Preliminary data indicate that during the month of August, NA Class 8 orders rose 0.9% month-over-month and 150% from August 2017,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Super-strong orders in June and July are likely pulling large fleet orders ahead in the schedule, as truckers race to reserve build slots in a market where demand is running well above capacity.”
Orders from June to August were booked at a 700,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to ACT.
Carriers continue to scramble to get enough trucks on the road to handle the robust freight growth. The surging economy and vibrant manufacturing sector are stretching the logistics system to the limit. In some markets, goods are moving slower due to supply chain gridlocks, necessitating even more trucks to deliver goods.
“The good news is, it appears the supplier shortage issues that significantly slowed production earlier this year, have been largely abated for now," said Don Ake, the FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. "However, the supply chain remains tight, and fleets and dealers continue to place large orders to lock down build slots in 2019.”
“Fleets are ordering early and often and orders this plentiful indicate fleets are highly confident the flourishing freight market will persist for a while. Current economic and manufacturing data point to a strong start to 2019," Ake said. "FTR does expect some easing to occur in the second half of next year.”
Medium duty truck order activity came in slightly below average in August, according to Vieth and ACT. August preliminary North American Class 5-7 net orders rose 26% year over year and 18% compared to July, at 23,700 units. "Seasonality provides a modest boost to August's medium duty orders, bringing the rise to 24,100.