Heavy-duty truck net orders continue to strengthen

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Net orders for heavy-duty Class 8 commercial vehicles increased 91 percent in April 2010 compared to the same month last year, according to ACT Research Co., which also reported that net orders for heavy-duty vehicles continue to strengthen month-to-month. New orders were spread over the next three quarters, suggesting that companies are beginning to place orders for new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2010 emissions-compliant equipment.

“From top to bottom, April was a healthy month for the Class 8 segment, at least in relative terms,” says Kenny Vieth, partner and senior analyst with ACT. “Orders were above expectations, backlogs rose and retail sales remained elevated. If orders surprise on the high side again in May, it could have upside implications for our forecasts for the remainder of 2010 and 2011.”

April net orders of medium-duty Class 5-7 equipment grew by 39 percent from April 2009, but with continued weakness in the residential housing market and tightening state budgets, the medium-duty sector has not shown the same level of rebound as the heavy-duty sector.