Preliminary NA Classes 5-8 net orders were 55,700 units in October, up 65% year over year. Surging Class 8 orders and generally in-line medium-duty order activity boosted the industry’s order intake to a level not seen since December 2014. “Seasonally adjusted, orders rose 5.7% from September to 48,900 units,” says Kenny Vieth, President and Senior Analyst at ACT Research. He continues, “For 2017 year to date, orders after seasonal adjustment have been very consistent, ranging from 41,400 units in May to October’s 48,900 unit tally.” Note that these numbers are preliminary; complete industry data for October, to include final order results, will be available mid-November in ACT’s State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Vehicles report.
Preliminary October NA Class 8 net orders significantly surpassed expectations, rising to 36,200 units. “October’s orders represented a 160% year-over-year jump from a particularly easy, cancellation impacted, year-ago comp,” notes Vieth. He continues, “October is typically the second strongest order month of the year. As such, seasonal adjustment boost lowers the monthly intake to 31,600 units, or a 379,400 unit SAAR, up 20% from September.”
The strength exhibited by Class 8 orders in October highlights improving freight conditions and freight rates in 2017 that will lead to a rebound in carrier profitability in 2018. “October’s preliminary orders clearly put upward pressure on ACT’s expectations for Class 8 demand next year,” noted Vieth. He continued, “At the same time, we recognize the potential that this year’s NACV show [September] may have pulled-forward the timing of orders that would normally have been placed through the fourth quarter.”