North American Class 8 orders ended the 2017 year strong, rising to a 37-month high of more than 37,500 units, according to ACT Research. Furthermore, robust orders since September have boosted Class 8 backlogs, setting the stage for an uptick in Class 8 production in 2018.
“The U.S. market was the primary driver of December’s Class 8 order strength, with orders climbing 127 percent [year over year], even as cancellations remained negligible.” says Kenny Vieth, ACT Research president and senior analyst. Tractor sleepers led the charge, jumping 260 percent, he adds.
“The inability of carriers to find drivers, the inflection in freight volumes, hurricanes and the strongest holiday shopping season since 2010 have conspired to create a capacity shortfall that has destabilized the trucking industry’s supply/demand balance,” Vieth says.
Regarding the medium-duty markets, Vieth explains that in the time Class 8 has gone from peak to trough to peak, the medium-duty market has remained a model of consistency, with December orders up 2.2 percent year over year.