Medium- and Heavy-Duty Orders Close Year Three-Month High in December

ACT Research reports preliminary Class 5-8 order data shows December volume increased 11% compared to November, and was up 35% compared to December 2016.

ACT Research

Preliminary North America Classes 5-8 net order data show the industry booked 58,800 units in December, bringing the full-year net order tally to 543,400. The December order volume represents an 11% improvement from November and a 35% improvement from December 2016. Note that these numbers are preliminary. Complete industry data for December, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-January.

Preliminary NA Class 8 net orders remained elevated, climbing 4,800 units from November to 37,500 units in December. “The last month of 2017 was the best monthly order intake since December 2014,” says Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He continues, “December’s order volume represents a sequential improvement of 15%, and a year-over-year gain of 76%.”

Medium-duty Classes 5-7 orders were steady in December, although mixed. “Preliminary data indicate that Classes 5-7 net orders inched higher from November to 21,300 units. However, on a year-over-year basis, orders dropped 3.7%,” says Vieth. He continues, “For all of 2017, NA MD Classes 5-7 orders totaled 249,700 units.”

December is usually a strong month for orders, but the holidays constrain production. Based on the spread between preliminary December orders and the Build Plans from last month’s State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Vehicles report, the MD backlog likely grew by around 7,500 units while the Class 8 backlog should see another 18,500 units added. Note that the data never quite align month to month, so there may be some variability when final data is collected.