October was a positive month for new order placement of Class 8 trucks in North America, exceeding order trends from the past few months.
FTR Associates reported preliminary data showing North America’s Class 8 net truck orders in October reached 25,960 units, increasing 14 percent year-over-year and 39 percent from the previous month. The monthly orders are the highest since December 2011, and the fourth month in a row showing month-over-month gains. Six of the 10 months so far this year have showed year-over-year increases.
“The increase in orders is broad-based and not isolated to any one [original equipment manufacturer],” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president, in a written statement. “The number is at the high end of our expectations and will likely help to solidify build activity in the short term.”
ACT Research said it expected Class 8 orders in October to total 26,300 units.
“The fourth quarter is historically the start of the order season for Class 8 vehicles for the new year,” said Ken W. Vieth, ACT’s senior partner and general manager, in a published remark. “The order volume exceeded the OEM build plans for October, so if build occurred as planned, Class 8 backlog will grow by about 2,000 units (not seasonally adjusted).”
“These orders will help fill open build slots remaining in 2013, while providing a better planning base to start 2014 production,” Vieth continued. “Seasonally, the Class 8 order volume translates into about 25,000 units. Assuming October is not a one-month shot of adrenalin and recognizing that orders have gradually edged higher quarter by quarter in 2013, our expectations are for further strength in the fourth quarter.”
Trucking tonnage and capacity have also been increasing recently, despite high equipment prices and the driver shortage, because of trucking company acquisitions in particular. The largest truckload carriers are gradually replacing older equipment, but only when and where they can get adequate return for additional capacity.