Prelim data shows Class 8 orders strong in February

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Class 8 orders were up roughly 30 percent in February from the same month in 2013, according to research firms FTR and ACT Research, building upon other strides seen in Class 8 orders in the last half-year.

Preliminary data from FTR points to  28,876 net orders in the month, making December, January and February the best three-month period since 2006, FTR says. February 2014 orders rose 27 percent from February 2013, FTR says.

ACT pegs the number at 29,200 orders in the month — a 30 percent year over year increase.

ACT’s Kenny Vieth says February’s orders were the fifth strongest since the first half of 2006. “Despite falling 16% from January, February’s net orders were up 30% compared to a year-ago. Since October, Class 8 orders have been booked at a 320k SAAR. Going even further afield, since the beginning of [2013’s third quarter], Class 8 net orders have been booked at a 299,000 [seasonally adjusted annualized rate],” Vieth added.

FTR’s Don Ake said the order strength in February was “in line with expectations” and points toward a solid year for truck orders. The market, he said, is “now officially in a growth cycle.”

“The confidence in the industry is picking up steam and we expect 2014 to be a healthy year for class 8 trucks,” he said. “The current order activity should begin to put pressure on OEM build rates for [the second quarter] to be more in line with the FTR forecast.”

Economists this week at the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association’s 2014 Heavy Duty Dialogue said they expect a bullish year for the truck market.