Preliminary North American Class 8 net orders in May were 22,900 units, down 32% from April, but a significant 242% higher than May of 2020’s COVID-stricken intake, noted ACT Research. Class 5-7 demand, with orders at 24,800 units, slipped 14% from April. Demand in this segment also enjoyed an easy year-ago comparison, outpacing May 2020 by 168%. Complete industry data for May, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-June.
“As we have been tracking for several months, medium- and heavy-duty backlogs for the remainder of 2021 were essentially filled with April’s orders,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “With 2022 order books not yet opened, it is not particularly surprising that orders for both segments fell to levels last seen in August 2020. We reiterate that the order pullback aligns with expectations, driven by the supply of open build slots in 2021, rather than demand for equipment.”
Regarding the heavy-duty market, Vieth commented, “While orders moderated in May, the three- and six-month net order SAARs and a backlog that was out nearly 12 months coming into the month highlight ongoing demand strength. Like Class 8, May’s Class 5-7 net orders moderated, if to a lesser degree, in a still-supportive vehicle demand environment.”