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Strong March truck orders cap off record-setting first quarter

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According to the preliminary numbers from both FTR and ACT Research Co., truck orders continued their record-setting pace in the month of March. Medium-duty orders had a particularly strong month, ACT noted.

FTR’s numbers had North American Class 8 orders for March, at 46,300 units, which is the third highest month on record, 15% above February and up 103% year-over-year. Orders for Q1 2018 were the largest totals of any quarter in history.

According to FTR, fleets are attempting to add capacity as fast as possible in a dynamic market. Some OEMs had exceptional order months as fleets scramble to lock in order slots for this year.

“The current capacity crisis may be the worst ever,” noted Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles. “Capacity is extremely tight and expected to remain this way for months. Fleets need more trucks to handle huge freight demand and continue to order trucks at record setting rates. OEM 2018 build slots are quickly filling up. Freight growth continues to climb at a rapid rate. The vibrant economy is pushing dry van and refrigerated van loads to elevated levels and renewed oil drilling is generating a tremendous amount of flatbed freight.”

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The numbers from ACT had total North American Class 5-8 orders in excess of 70,000, up 55% year-over-year and 11% month-over-month.

More specifically, ACT found that Class 8 orders came in at 46,900 units–more than double last March’s total. Medium-duty orders, meanwhile, hit their best mark since early 2006, the days of EPA ’07 pre-buying.

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