Preliminary NA Classes 5-8 net orders were 55,700 units in October, up 65% year over year. Surging Class 8 orders and generally in-line medium-duty order activity boosted the industry’s order intake to a level not seen since December 2014.
“Seasonally adjusted, orders rose 5.7% from September to 48,900 units,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research. “For 2017 year to date, orders after seasonal adjustment have been very consistent, ranging from 41,400 units in May to October’s 48,900 unit tally.”
Note that these numbers are preliminary; complete industry data for October, to include final order results, will be available in mid-November.
Preliminary October NA Class 8 net orders significantly surpassed expectations, rising to 36,200 units. “October’s orders represented a 160% year-over-year jump from a particularly easy, cancellation impacted, year-ago comp,” Vieth noted. “October is typically the second strongest order month of the year. As such, seasonal adjustment boost lowers the monthly intake to 31,600 units, or a 379,400 unit SAAR, up 20% from September.”
The strength exhibited by Class 8 orders in October highlights improving freight conditions and freight rates in 2017 that will lead to a rebound in carrier profitability in 2018. “October’s preliminary orders clearly put upward pressure on ACT’s expectations for Class 8 demand next year,” Vieth said. “At the same time, we recognize the potential that this year’s NACV show [in September] may have pulled-forward the timing of orders that would normally have been placed through the fourth quarter.”
FTR’s preliminary North American Class 8 net orders for October came in at 35,700 units, a month-over-month increase of 62% versus September and 167% above a year ago. Order volume for October met FTR’s expectations for the market’s early fall buying season. The growth was not uniform across all OEMs, but nearly every manufacturer saw a m/m increase. North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have now totaled 261,500 units, according to FTR.
“Class 8 orders surged in October. The market seems well situated for a strong production environment to persist into 2018,” said Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer at FTR, commented, FTR has been anticipating a strong 2017 fall order season since early this year. The market continues to follow our expectations and highlights that the market fundamentals remain solid as we approach 2018.”