ACT: Trailer Orders, Used Class 8 Sales Improve in October

According to ACT Research, new and net trailer orders climbed in October, driven both by dry vans and reefers. Even with October’s rebound, orders are still behind from last year by a wide margin.

A significant bias of fleet investment towards trailers lingered into October, with the ratio of net orders of trailers-to-tractors hitting its highest monthly level since 2010.

“Dry van net orders were over 2.5 [times] September’s level, providing the majority of the October growth,” said Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT. “Even with that surge, dry van net was down over 30% [year-over-year]. Those stats reflect the mix of short-term improvement and the dramatically lower order volumes being placed this order cycle.”

In addition, ACT reported that used Class 8 truck same dealer sales increased in October, reversing the decline reported in September. Month-to-month, volumes saw a 7% increase which helped offset part of the 11% decline in September.

“Looking at the long term, volumes were also up 7% year-over-year compared to October 2015,” said Steve Tam, ACT’s vice president. “Year-to-date totals are just 2% below the comparable time period in 2015.”

The current used truck market is favoring hesitant buyers, while dealers report low sales and declining prices.

“Used trucks continue to be oversupplied, which is holding down prices,” Tam said. “Some buyers still have concerns about emissions systems and the costs of maintaining them, which is, in turn, hurting the sales of late model used trucks.”

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