Truck orders pass 30K units in back-to-back months

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North American Class 8 net orders for November reached 32,400 units according to preliminary data released this week by FTR, the second consecutive month that heavy truck orders have surpassed 30,000 units.

November fell 8 short of October’s strong order intake, but soared 71 percent over a year ago.

“Orders for Class 8 trucks have been sturdy and consistent,” says Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles. “The orders are right in line with our forecast of stronger production and sales in 2018.  The year-over-year comparison is over-stated, however, because the election tempered order amounts last November.”

Distribution of orders in November, similar to October, was not uniform across all OEM’s.  Orders for Canada did fall back somewhat after three strong months. Ake says the North American market continues to show strength and stability heading into 2018.

North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have now totaled 274,000 units.

“Freight growth is robust right now and fleets will need to expand capacity to keep pace. Also, ELDs are expected to reduce productivity to some degree,” he says. “Still, for now, fleets are being more careful managing their orders and not being overly aggressive placing them this fall. OEMs should be able to increase production modestly next year when needed.”

Preliminary Class 5-8 net orders, according to ACT Research, were 53,000 units in November, up 44 percent year over year, and slightly down from October’s order surge.

“Continued Class 8 order strength in November and in-line medium duty orders added up to a second consecutive month of ‘best-since’ order activity,” says Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research. “Seasonally adjusted, orders rose 2.8 percent from October to 50,300 units, marking November as the best month for NA Classes 5-8 orders since February 2015.”

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]