ACT Research reported Tuesday North American Class 8 orders rose to their second-best ever level in January, surpassing 49,100 units with a year-over-year growth rate of 121 percent. Since last October, ACT reports North American Class 8 net orders have been booked at a 399,000-unit SAAR.
“The only month in history better than January was a 52,000-unit order explosion in March 2006, at the peak of the pre-buying frenzy ahead of EPA 2007 [regulations],” says Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research.
As has been the case since orders went vertical in October, U.S. tractors remain the primary driver of outsized order strength, rising 189 percent year-over-year in January, though Vieth adds “after a couple months hiatus, orders from Canada were broadly strong in January, up 259 percent year-over-year.” He believes drivers of the current order onslaught are broad-based, with supply-side, demand-side, and exogenous factors all contributing to Class 8 order activity.
Regarding the medium-duty market, Vieth says that market “experienced a high-side breakout of its own in January, with North American net orders rising to their highest level since mid-2006, up 39 percent year-over-year, and all the month’s strength derived from the truck market.” He gave several possible explanations for the order strength, including operators ordering in anticipation of a tax windfall and dealers adding inventory in expectation of windfall purchasing, ACT Research says.