New truck orders still booming through May

Updated Jun 7, 2018

ACT Research announced Monday preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 35,600 units in May; FTR followed Tuesday with a preliminary estimate of 35,200 units.

FTR says the total is the third highest May on record. Orders have averaged more than 40,000 units for the past six months; volumes never seen before in the industry.

“Preliminary net order data indicate that demand for Class 8 trucks continued in robust fashion in May,” says Kenny Vieth, president and Senior Analyst at ACT Research. “During the month, North American Class 8 net orders rose 2.5 percent from April and May’s order volume more than doubled the year-ago take, rising 110 percent from last May.”

FTR states Class 8 orders exceeded expectations again as fleets order in huge numbers attempting to keep up with burgeoning freight demand. North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have now totaled 386,000 units.

“This is the tightest capacity crunch ever. Long-time veterans in this industry are saying this is the best freight market they have ever seen. Fleets cannot add capacity fast enough and as long as the economy and manufacturing are going great, this capacity crisis will continue,” says Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles.

Numbers are equally impressive when seasonally adjusted, ACT reports, with adjusted and annualized Class 8 orders booked at a 475,000-unit rate through year-to-date May.

“Seasonal adjustment begins to inflect positively this month. When adjusted, May’s Class 8 net order volume rises to 39,800 units,” says Vieth.

Adds Ake, “There is a shortage of truck parts and components, so OEMs have been slow to deliver. This just exacerbates an already bad situation. Fleets are now grabbing every available build slot, hoping to get some more trucks by the end of the year. Some orders now are even spilling into the first quarter of next year. It is a red-hot market.”

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