Net orders for heavy trucks rose sharply in September from August and from September 2009, defying sales expectations and a slowing economy.
Net orders of Class 8 trucks rose 23.2 percent in September from August and 37 percent from a year ago, according to data from ACT Research.
Class 8 net orders hit 15,231 units in September, compared with 12,362 units in August and 11,112 units in September 2009, ACT Research said.
The data add to evidence demand for new heavy trucks is growing, as more truck operators replace older equipment they held onto during the recession.
"This level of orders is a continuation of the steady increase in demand we have seen building since early this year," said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst.
"Not only was September the second best order month, the uptick in orders occurred in what is typically a below average month," said Vieth.
Heartland Express purchased 200 new Class 8 tractors from Navistar in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, bringing the average age of its truck fleet down to 1.6 years.
Medium-duty truck orders were up 17 percent from a year ago in September, though a fall-off in school bus orders helped push Class 5-7 orders down.
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