According to preliminary data from both FTR and ACT Research, Class 5-8 truck orders had one of the best-ever months in February; according to ACT’s estimation, it was the fifth-strongest order month of the 2000s. This comes after another record-breaking month in January, which was measured at the second-highest levels since order tracking began.
ACT’s preliminary numbers had Class 5-8 orders at 67,700 units.
“Despite falling 17% below January’s best-in-twelve-years order intake, February’s industry order volume still makes it into the pantheon of all-time great months, with both the medium- and heavy-duty markets contributing generously to the final order tally,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “On a seasonally adjusted basis, net orders rose 42% year-over-year to 63,000 units, also the fifth-best all-time reading.”
According to Vieth, Class 8 orders totaled 40,600 units in February, the eighth best order month on record and the ninth time in history in which orders eclipsed the 40,000-unit mark. Medium-duty orders, meanwhile, fell 15% from January but still totaled 26,700 units, which is the third-best month on record for that segment.
FTR’s numbers had February Class 8 orders at 40,200 units, down 15% m/m but up 76% y/y. FTR noted that the 40,000-unit level has not been exceeded in two consecutive months since November and December of 2014.
“The Class 8 market remains red-hot,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles. “The capacity crunch is transforming into a capacity crisis and many fleets of all sizes, in all markets, across the country are scrambling to add trucks as fast as they can. Robust freight growth is the primary driver and ELD implementation is just exacerbating a tough situation. It looks like fleets held back some orders from the fourth quarter to see if freight growth would continue and if ELDs were final. Now that the environment is more certain, the orders have been pouring in. This upturn looks strikingly similar to 2015, but is now expected to exceed it. Production is ramping up and should remain vibrant into next year.”