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NA Class 5-8 net orders end 2020 on a high note

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David Sickels is the Associate Editor of Tire Review and Fleet Equipment magazines. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 net orders for December continued at a high level at 52,100 units. December 2020 order activity was the fourth-highest ever and just 700 units fewer than November, up 169% over a year ago, FTR says, adding Class 8 orders for 2020 totaled 283,000 units.

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ACT Research says N.A. Classes 5-7 demand, with orders at 35,100 units, rose 28% sequentially and 73% compared to last December. That order volume represents a second-best-ever volume, while the Class 8 net order intake marks the fourth-highest level in history, ACT adds.

FTR says the industry has momentum rolling into 2021, as freight growth is robust, freight rates are elevated and fleet profits keep rising. Consumer-based freight remains vibrant and there are indications that manufacturing activity is finally beginning to accelerate.

Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR commented, “The Class 8 market ended the most challenging year with a bang. To get two back-to-back order months over 50,000 is a stellar accomplishment, after previously seeing orders crater to under 5,000 units in April. Now, 2021 has the potential to be an incredible recovery year. As the economy continues to improve, fleets are showing increasing confidence about business conditions in 2021. Profits are more than sufficient to replace used trucks and freight growth is stimulating expansion demand. Put those dynamics together, and the industry is headed toward a robust year.”

Regarding the medium-duty market, Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst commented, “There is a symbiotic relationship between heavy-duty freight rates and medium-duty demand. Clearly, the shift in consumer spending from experiences to goods has been good for the providers of local trucking services as e-commerce has grown by leaps and bounds during the pandemic.”

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