Net orders for heavy-duty trucks increased 84 percent year-over-year in May, as truck operators anticipated a stronger shipping peak, said ACT Research.
More than half of the 13,231 Class 8 orders placed in May are scheduled for third-quarter delivery, indicating truck buyers want to get new rigs on the road before the peak shipping season this fall, said ACT partner and senior analyst Kenny Vieth.
Fleets also are placing orders for trucks compliant with 2010 federal emissions rules, Vieth said.
"With strong freight growth continuing to absorb excess capacity, trucker profits should soon follow," he said. "While there are still hurdles to clear, including used equipment prices and credit availability, the pendulum is swinging in favor of new truck demand."
Heavy truck orders rose 91 percent year-over-year in April, according to ACT. Earlier in June, the research firm increased its 2010 forecast for heavy-truck production to 4,500 units, a 23 percent increase over 2009.
What's not known is how many of those trucks are replacement units and how many represent additional capacity.
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