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September truck orders fall slightly but remain strong

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According to the numbers from both FTR and ACT Research, September truck orders took a slight step back from the record-setting pace of the summer, while remaining strong compared to past years.

Preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 42,800 units in September, falling moderately after back-to-back record order months.

“Preliminary data indicate that in September, NA Class 8 orders were down 19% from August, but up 90% compared to year-ago September,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Reaching back to June, on a seasonally adjusted basis the past four months are four of the five strongest in history.”

As for medium-duty orders, Vieth commented, “Trendy medium-duty order activity continued in September, with orders rising to a four-month high. September’s preliminary NA Classes 5-7 net orders rose to 24,800 units, and over the past twelve months, orders have averaged 24,500 units/month.”

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for September continued to surge, coming in at 42,300 units for the month. The third quarter 2018 decisively set an all-time record with 146,800 Class 8 orders. September Class 8 order activity was the 10th-best month ever but with most of 2018 hitting all time highs, was only the fifth-highest monthly volume this year, FTR noted.

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“The pressure is on fleets to add capacity to keep up with a robust freight market,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles. “The economy is surging right now, putting stress on shippers to find trucks to deliver goods on time. Fleets don’t want to be stuck in the same situation next year, so they are placing huge orders for trucks well ahead of time.

“The focus now turns to the supply chain. Parts and component suppliers have struggled to keep pace with the growing OEM builds this year. Demand, as indicated by the surge in orders, will be even stronger next year. It is uncertain if suppliers can meet this challenge, as they compete for workers and materials in a vibrant economy.”

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