FTR says this expected order volume was 8 percent behind October but 71 percent above a year ago. Don Ake, vice president of Commercial Vehicles at FTR, says there is a reason for that.
“Orders for Class 8 trucks have been sturdy and consistent. The orders are right in line with our forecast of stronger production and sales in 2018,” he says. “The year-over-year comparison is over-stated, however, because the election tempered order amounts last November.”
“Historically, November is the third best order month of the year,” adds Kenny Vieth, ACT Research president and senior analyst. “As such, seasonal adjustment lowers the month’s intake to 30,000 units, down 4.7 percent from October.”
FTR also reports distribution of orders in November, similar to October, was not uniform across all OEMs. Orders for Canada also did fall back somewhat after three impressive months.
Coupled with the medium-duty market, ACT Research pegs the market’s preliminary Classes 5-8 net orders for November at 53,000 units in November, up 44 percent year-over-year, and slightly down from October’s order surge.
“Continued Class 8 order strength in November and in-line medium-duty orders added up to a second consecutive month of ‘best-since’ order activity,” says Vieth. “Seasonally adjusted, orders rose 2.8 percent from October to 50,300 units, marking November as the best month for North American Classes 5-8 orders since February 2015.”
Additionally, FTR says the North American Class 8 market continues to show strength and stability heading into 2018. North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have now totaled 274,000 units.
“Freight growth is robust right now and fleets will need to expand capacity to keep pace. Also, ELDs are expected to reduce productivity to some degree,” Ake says. “Still, for now, fleets are being more careful managing their orders and not being overly aggressive placing them this fall. OEMs should be able to increase production modestly next year when needed.”
ACT Research’s medium-duty specific data shows orders inched higher from October, rising to 20,100 units. At +15 percent, November’s order volume generated the best year-over-year performance in six months, the company says.
“Seasonal adjustment, which was a drag in October, turned incrementally positive in November. When adjusted, the medium duty net order volume rises to 20,400 units, up 16 percent sequentially and 17 percent year-over-year,” Vieth says.