At the top line, North American Class 8 net orders totaled 35,608 units in May. While below the 492,000 seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of Q1’s orders, May’s 478,000 SAAR continues the trend of order activity well above industry capacity, according to ACT Research.
“Continuing to be led by Canada and the U.S., order strength remained broad-based. North American tractor orders were up 125 percent year over year in May, while the vocational side of the market saw orders rise 86 percent,” says Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst. Vieth adds, “Class 8 production remained constrained in May due to parts-specific production constraints. We have heard anecdotes that there are thousands of red-tagged (off-the-assembly-line but incomplete) units waiting to be finished.” He further comments, “Stagnating build rates coupled with still-strong orders have pushed the backlog to just below the March 2006 peak, at 219,600 units.”
Regarding the medium-duty markets, Vieth says, “May’s medium-duty orders were virtually a carbon copy of April at 24,534 units. Seasonally adjusted, orders were at a four-month high 25,100 units.” Vieth continues, “The heavier end of the medium-duty market continues to outperform the lighter end, with Class 5 orders in May improving 3 percent year-to-date and the Classes 6-7 May orders bringing that segment’s year-to-date rise to 33 percent.”