ACT Research: Class 8 Vehicle Orders Side Step in July, Medium-Duty Orders Jump 30%

According to preliminary data from ACT Research, North American Class 8 net orders in July were 25,800 units, which was largely unchanged compared with June’s actual 25,809 orders booked.

North American Classes 5-7 net orders jumped 30% from June and 70% from July 2020 to 30,200 units. Complete industry data for July, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-August.

“In 2018, there was an explosion of orders across the industry as dealers raced to get their places in rapidly growing out-year backlog queues. Underlying drivers of commercial vehicle demand are considerably hotter than they were three summers back, with six-plus percent GDP growth, capacity constraints across multiple shipping modes, at/near-record trucking freight rates, surging carrier profits and record used equipment valuations providing deep support for Class 8 demand,” Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst of ACT Research, said.

“While conditions are in place to sell out 2022 backlogs in a very short time horizon, the industry appears to be approaching order distribution much differently this year. That being said, while order rates remain below the backlog-filling volumes of Q4 and Q1, the three- and six-month seasonally-adjusted annualized rates remain well above the industry’s ability to produce.”

Regarding the medium-duty market, Vieth said, “With the consumer economy remaining buoyant, July’s Classes 5-7 net orders accelerated on both an actual and seasonally adjusted basis. July’s medium-duty net orders fell just short of a top-five all-time finish, coming in at a respectable sixth best ever.

“North America Classes 5-8 orders in July continued in rangebound fashion, falling in the middle of order activity since April. Preliminary inputs indicate net orders in July were 56,000 units compared to a lower-bound 48,900 in May and an upper-bound 62,300 in April. While this July’s volume is middling compared to the order standards set over the past year, it handily beats last July’s COVID-impacted volume at [plus 47%].”

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