FTR recently reported preliminary North American Class 8 orders for February at 40,200 units, volume much greater than expectations. The total also exceeded the 40,000-level for the second consecutive month, something that has not happened since November-December, 2014.
February order activity was down 15 percent month to month, but up 76 percent year over year. Fleets are striving to add hauling capacity in response to strong freight growth. OEM orders were sturdy across the board for all markets and truck types. North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have now totaled 333,000 units, according to the report.
“The Class 8 market remains red-hot. The capacity crunch is transforming into a capacity crisis and many fleets of all sizes, in all markets, across the country are scrambling to add trucks as fast as they can. Robust freight growth is the primary driver and ELD implementation is just exacerbating a tough situation,” says Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles.
“It looks like fleets held back some orders from the fourth quarter to see if freight growth would continue and if ELDs were final,” Ake adds. “Now that the environment is more certain, the orders have been pouring in. This upturn looks strikingly similar to 2015, but is now expected to exceed it. Production is ramping up and should remain vibrant into next year.”