ACT: North American Class 8 Net Orders Hit Nine-Month High in July



According to ACT Research’s latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, the U.S. economy continued to post good numbers in July, including a 1.2% month-over-month increase in retail sales, indicating that consumers’ wallets remain open for spending. Along with an increase in industrial production and strong housing activity, demand for commercial vehicles is also on the upswing.

“Despite the economy still operating well-below pre-pandemic levels, freight rates are soaring,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s president and senior analyst. “It is fascinating that the economy can contract 9.5% in Q2 and there is an almost-immediate trucking capacity shortage pushing spot freight rates to a two-year high. At the heart of this paradoxical situation is driver capacity. The economic downturn in April was so sharp that drivers were furloughed in droves as trucks were parked.”

By commercial vehicle segment, Vieth commented, “The rebound in carriers’ fortunes has been a positive for the front-end of the demand spectrum. Supported by strong U.S. tractor demand, NA Class 8 net orders rose to a nine-month high in July. The medium-duty market did not swoon as sharply through the shutdown, leaving less pent-up energy to the upside. While MD orders were down from June, seasonal adjustment lifts them to a five-month high.”

ACT’s State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales, and general state of the on-road heavy and medium duty commercial vehicle markets in North America. It differentiates market indicators by Class 5, Classes 6-7 chassis and Class 8 trucks and tractors, detailing measures such as backlog, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and retail sales. Additionally, Class 5 and Classes 6-7 are segmented by trucks, buses, RVs, and step van configurations, while Class 8 is segmented by trucks and tractors with and without sleeper cabs. This report includes a six-month industry build plan, backlog timing analysis, historical data from 1996 to the present in spreadsheet format, and a ready-to-use graph package. A first-look at preliminary net orders is also published in conjunction with this report.

Additionally, the report noted that ACT Research has created an easily accessible webpage to track noteworthy high frequency macroeconomic and transportation-specific market indicators, which can be found by clicking here.

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