Orders for Class 8 trucks in North America continued to be “solid” in March, the fourth consecutive month with net orders above 25,000 units.
FTR Associates reported preliminary data showing North America’s Class 8 net truck orders in March reached 27,139 units, up 25 percent year-over-year.
Each of the past 14 months has shown a year-over-year improvement, with totals for the first quarter of 2014 35 percent above the first quarter of 2013, according to FTR. December 2013 through March 2014 was also the best four-month period since 2006. Class 8 orders over the last six months have seen activity reach 337,000 units on an annualized rate and continue to meet positive expectations, FTR said.
Although March orders were down 6 percent month-to-month, the previous month was the highest February on record since 2006.
“This is a great order total for the month of March,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles, in a written statement. “The market is maintaining strength and confirms we are in a solid growth cycle. [Original equipment manufacturers] are expected to increase build rates in response to their growing backlog.”
The Institute for Supply Management said this week that its manufacturing index increased to 53.7 in March from 53.2 in February, indicating expansion and building economic momentum following slowdowns this winter.
FTR also reported this week that trucking capacity constraints in February were “unprecedented,” driven by truck freight demand and regulatory drag hindering available capacity.