Even though January’s orders failed to match December’s near-record order intake, demand for new Classes 5 to 8 vehicles in the North American (NA) market remained elevated during the month. For the month, preliminary data indicate that 53,200 NA Classes 5 to 8 vehicle net orders were booked (±5%). That volume represents a decline of 21% from December, but also a 5% improvement from a very strong year-ago January. While orders moderated to their lowest volume since September, January’s orders represent a 638,400 unit annualized order placement rate (628k SAAR). Actual numbers will be released mid-February.
"After three consecutive months in which Class 8 orders rose above 40,000 units, January’s Class 8 order intake of 35,400 units appears pedestrian," says Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President & Senior Analyst. "However, while October-December represent the three strongest months cycle-to-date, January orders tilt the scale at a respectable fifth best, and are closely aligned with the six-month order trend (425k AR versus six month 433k AR).
"Similar to Class 8, January’s medium-duty orders don’t live up to the strong Q4 pace, but rise above year-ago activity," Vieth says. "At 17,800 units in January, Classes 5 to 7 orders rose 11% compared to year-ago levels, but fell 22% from December’s second best month of the cycle order volume. January’s MD orders fell slightly below build expectations, suggesting that backlogs are likely to be 1,000 to 2,000 units lower when the complete data set is compiled mid-month in ACT’s SOI: Classes 5 to 8 Vehicles report."