The truck equipment market defied economic uncertainty and Hurricane Sandy in October, as net orders for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and trailers surged, according to ACT Research.
Net orders for medium trucks rose 35 percent from September and year-over-year to 19,285 units, while net orders for Class 8 tractor rose to 23,431 units, higher than ACT’s initial forecast.
Trailer orders were up by nearly a third from September, according to the vehicle market research firm, and trailer manufacturers reported the first backlog increase since April, ACT said.
Either truck buyers are more certain about economic prospects than the prevailing wisdom would suggest, or they are at the point where they have to refresh their fleets.
The increase in truck orders after a long soft patch reflects economic improvement seen in increased housing activity and consumer confidence, despite some strong headwinds.
Trailer orders have been rising, climbing 11 percent in September from August, when the daily production rate for trailers reached its third-best level in 2012, ACT said in a statement.
“Underscoring the increase in activity was the fact that the improvement occurred in the face of electoral and fiscal uncertainty,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT president and senior analyst.
Hurricane Sandy, which hit at the end of October, also didn’t blunt the increase in net orders, he said, although it disrupted business along the East Coast and shipping nationwide.
Even a small increase in economic activity can reveal “positive underlying demand” for trucks and trailers, Vieth said, including pent-up demand for replacement vehicles.