Orders for Class 8 trucks surged in September to the highest total in nearly two years as fleets showed renewed confidence in market conditions amid stronger than expected economic and freight recovery, according to a transportation industry report released Friday by FTR Transportation Intelligence.
Preliminary North American Class 8 net orders jumped in September to 32,000 units, logging order activity up 55% over the previous month and up 160% over the same time last year, the Bloomington, Indiana-based firm said.
Those numbers marked the highest total since October 2018, as uncertainty about the pandemic continues to fade, more sectors of the economy reopen, and consumer mobility increases, FTR said. “The Class 8 truck market continues to recover faster and better than expected. This strong order volume suggests fleets believe there will be steady freight growth going forward. Rates have improved, so carriers have the cash, and now they also have the confidence. When you combine those two factors, orders tend to surge,” Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR, said in a release.
“There was considerable pent-up demand in the market, as orders sank in the March to May time period. So, trucks that would have normally been ordered then, are being ordered now, since much of the risk has passed,” Ake said. “The order volume is very close to August’s trailer orders; therefore, it appears that the fleets took care of their trailer needs first, and then caught up to the truck side in September. Ordering for 2021 deliveries will begin in earnest this month, so the industry has solid momentum going into the fall ordering season.”
FTR’s assessment echoed a similar report from another analyst firm, Columbus, Indiana-based ACT Research, which found that preliminary North American Class 8 net orders in September were 31,100 units, up 60% from August and up a “whopping” 145% from September of 2019. “Preliminary data show that September orders for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles posted positive readings for a fourth consecutive month, after 19 consecutive months of negative year-over-year comparisons,” Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst, said in a release.
Preliminary NA #Class8 net orders in September were 31,100 units, up 60% from August and a whopping 145% from an easy year-ago comparison.https://t.co/Y2LeLoayNA#truck #semitruck #trucking #transportation pic.twitter.com/EXPCzMtJRf— ACT Research (@actresearch) October 5, 2020