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July truck orders strongest in 2020

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Managing Editor of Fleet Equipment Magazine

According to the latest numbers from both ACT Research and FTR, truck orders in July hit their highest point of 2020.

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FTR reports that preliminary North American Class 8 net orders rebounded in July to 20,000 units, up 28% from June, and double the orders that we had in July of 2019. Class 8 net orders for the last 12 months now total 168,000 units.

“As we hit the height of summer demand, the freight markets showed strength and resilience and that led to additional orders for trucks,” said Jonathan Starks, chief intelligence officer at FTR. “The order activity for both June and July was more robust than expected and is good news for the equipment producers. However, despite the increasing orders, FTR still expects the Class 8 market to maintain a slow, steady recovery.

“The freight markets sustained a traumatic decline of volumes at the start of the pandemic and consumer demand, on an absolute basis, will remain weaker as we deal with high levels of unemployment and a Congress that has been unable to foster a bi-partisan solution to stimulate demand. The OEMs received a needed boost from July orders, activity that will help keep the industry moving in an upward direction.”

According to ACT Research, preliminary North American Class 8 net orders in July were 20,300 units, rising 27% from June, and up 98% from July 2019. The NA Classes 5-7 market saw orders slip to 16,700 units, down 6% month-over-month and 3% below their year-ago July volume.

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“With many drivers (and trucks) sidelined, there is now insufficient available capacity for rebounding freight volumes,” noted Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “There is a strong relationship historically between carrier profits and equipment demand.

“Unlike Class 8, the medium-duty market did not swoon sharply through the worst of the shutdown,” he continued. “And, while orders were down on a nominal basis, seasonal adjustment boosts July’s Classes 5-7 orders to a five-month high.”

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