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Truck orders hit 20,000-plus units for fifth consecutive month

According to preliminary data compiled by ACT Research and FTR, Class 8 North American truck orders topped the 20,000 unit mark for the fifth consecutive month in April.

Posting 23,900 truck orders last month, ACT President and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth says early spring is typically the time of the year when orders begin to moderate, but FTR Commercial Vehicles Vice President Don Ake says he expects one more month of solid orders before summer seasonal slack settles in.

“In this order cycle, the fleets did not place all the big orders in October and November,” Ake adds. “Some fleets did order at that time, but since then, fleets have placed orders in a more measured, steady fashion as they became more confident about 2017.

April orders met expectations with a 4 percent increase over March and jumped 77 percent from a year ago.

Ake says fleets are expecting better freight conditions in the second half of the year and current truck order activity reflects that.

“The Class 8 market continues to show some solid momentum as orders remain at good levels and production is starting to rise,” Ake says. “This is a typical moderate market recovery. The orders increased first, then production and then the actual sales.  Truck sales were weak in Q1, but so was the economy. Freight growth is increasing, and the fleets see this and are responding to this trend. This market continues to track the 2013 upswing with modest growth creating a positive environment for the OEMs.”

Class 8 orders for the past six months now annualize to 262,000 units. Backlogs should increase in April, reaching levels reached nearly a year ago.

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Jason Cannon is the Equipment Editor for Commercial Carrier Journal and Overdrive, and is a Class A CDL holder. Reach him at jasoncannon@randallreilly.com.