Both FTR and ACT Research reported preliminary North American Class 8 net orders of more than 22,000 units in September, the companies announced Tuesday.
FTR put Class 8 orders at 22,100 units, continuing month-over-month increases of 7 percent versus August and 62 percent above a year ago. ACT tracked the month at 22,600 units, an increase of 63 percent year-over-year. Looking at the Class 5-8 markets, September’s total order was a 27-month seasonally-adjusted high, ACT reports.
“Preliminary medium- and heavy-duty net orders were 43,500 units in September, up 27 percent year over year. Seasonally adjusted, orders rose 8.7 percent month over month to 46,500 units,” says Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research. “For 2017 year to date, orders after seasonal adjustment have been consistent, ranging from 41,400 units in May to September’s 46,500 units tally.”
FTR says Class 8 order volume for September met its expectations as the market builds momentum heading into the fall order season. The company says orders from Canada were particularly robust as fleets are benefitting from a strong economy. The company says North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have totaled 239,000 units.
“The recovery in the Class 8 market is building, and we saw that with the orders through the summer. Order totals never got that low and followed cyclical trends. This is a healthy, growing truck market, which is in excellent position for greater expansion in 2018. Class 8 order rates are expected to jump in Q4,” says Don Ake, vice president of Commercial Vehicles at FTR. “Stronger freight growth generated by a more vibrant U.S. economy will spur demand for additional trucks next year. Factor in the loss of productivity from the ELDs, and fleets will have to expand capacity to haul the available freight.”
ACT adds this was the fourth consecutive month of order improvement after dropping in May, and represented a meaningful jump when seasonally adjusted.
“With a generous factor bestowed on what is typically the second weakest order month of the year, seasonal adjustment boosts September’s order performance to its highest level in over two years at 26,200 units,” says Vieth.
In the medium-duty space, ACT says orders improved in September, but remained below first half of the year activity levels. For the month, preliminary data show net orders rising to a three-month high 20,900 units.
“September orders were positive month-over-month, improving 11 percent from August, and eked out a small 2.1 percent gain year-over-year,” Vieth says. “Seasonal adjustment generates a drag on medium-duty orders in September, reducing the month’s volume by 600 units to 20,300 units.”