When will it end? New truck orders set another record in August

For the second month in a row preliminary North America Class 8 net orders totals were the highest in history last month, ACT Research and FTR reported this week.

According to ACT, the market booked 53,100 units in August, breaking the all-time record set in July in another typically weak order intake month of the year. FTR also pegged August as a record breaker, totaling 52,400 units and surpassing July’s total by 300 units.

“Preliminary data indicate that during the month of August, NA Class 8 orders rose 0.9 percent month-over-month and 150 percent from August 2017,” says Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research. “Super-strong orders in June and July are likely pulling large fleet orders ahead in the schedule, as truckers race to reserve build slots in a market where demand is running well above capacity.”

FTR states its data showed orders were even month-over-month and up 153 percent year-over-year. Orders continue their hot streak in 2018. Six of the top twelve order months ever have occurred in the first eight months of this year.  North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have now totaled 477,000 units, FTR says.

ACT Research states orders from June to August were booked at a 700,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate.

“Fleets are ordering early and often and orders this plentiful indicate fleets are highly confident the flourishing freight market will persist for a while,” says Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR. “Current economic and manufacturing data point to a strong start to 2019. FTR does expect some easing to occur in the second half of next year.”

FTR also adds carriers continue to scramble to get enough trucks on the road to handle the robust freight growth.  The surging economy and vibrant manufacturing sector are stretching the logistics system to the limit. In some markets, goods are moving slower due to supply chain gridlocks, necessitating even more trucks to deliver goods.

“The good news is, it appears the supplier shortage issues that significantly slowed production earlier this year, have been largely abated for now. However, the supply chain remains tight, and fleets and dealers continue to place large orders to lock down build slots in 2019,” Ake says.

Regarding medium-duty orders, Vieth adds, “Trendy medium-duty order activity continued in August, with orders coming in slightly below the average of the previous four months. August preliminary NA Classes 5-7 net orders rose 26 percent year-over-year and 18 percent compared to July, at 23,700 units. Seasonality provides a modest boost to August’s medium duty orders, bringing the rise to 24,100 units.”

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