July truck orders bounce to strongest level since October 2019

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Screen Shot 2020 08 04 At 7 58 05 Pm 2020 08 04 19 57North American Class 8 net orders rebounded in July, reaching 20,000 units, according to FTR – an increase of 28% over June and nearly double the order total for last July. Class 8 net orders for the last 12 months now total 168,000 units.

FTR Chief Intelligence Officer Jonathan Starks noted demand for new trucks last month was better than expected, but uncertainty swirling out around increasing coronavirus case counts and Congressional action on unemployment benefits could dampen the market into the fall.

“As we hit the height of summer demand, the freight markets showed strength and resilience and that led to additional orders for trucks,” he said, adding that despite the increasing orders, FTR still expects the Class 8 market to maintain a slow and steady recovery.

“The freight markets sustained a traumatic decline of volumes at the start of the pandemic and consumer demand, on an absolute basis, will remain weaker as we deal with high levels of unemployment and a Congress that has been unable to foster a bi-partisan solution to stimulate demand,” Starks said. “The OEMs received a needed boost from July orders, activity that will help keep the industry moving in an upward direction.”

The Class 5-7 market saw orders slip to 16,700, according to ACT Research, down 6% month-over-month and 3% below July last year.