July NA Class 8 Orders Surge Past 50,000, Net Trailer Orders More Than Double Last Year

According to ACT Research, North American Class 8 net orders totaled 52,629 units in July, marking the fifth time in seven months orders have exceeded 40,000 units.

“Making July’s order intake more impressive is the fact that the month is typically the weakest of the year,” Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst for ACT Research, said. “Much of the past two-month order surge is attributable to dealers booking build slots for 2019 and not to say that current order activity will not be converted into customer sales, it is worth noting that as lead times extend, orders are inherently more speculative. In the meantime, the industry continues to finish units that were not completed in Q2 owing to various parts shortages, with July’s build rising to 31,039 units.”

Regarding the medium duty markets, Vieth said, “Medium duty production handily beat build plans for a sixth consecutive month in July, with build coming at 22,160 units. The build plan now anticipates full-year medium duty build at 270,500 units.”

In addition to the Class 8 orders report, ACT Research released its preliminary estimate for July 2018 net trailer orders at 29,300 units. Final July volume will be available later this month.

“After a steady June, fleets came roaring back into the market in July. OEMs had their strongest July net order volume in history, breaking a record that was set in 1994. Net orders were 102% better than last July and 45% above June volume. Considering July is, historically, the industry’s weakest order month, this performance is truly exceptional. Year-to-date, net orders of just over 200k trailers are up 30% from 2017,” Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV Transportation Analysis and Research, said. “When seasonally adjusted, July came in above 44k units, the second strongest monthly reading in industry history. That converts to a stunning 528k SAAR. Both dry vans and reefers paced overall performance, closing the month with backlogs that now stretch into March of next year. While strength was evident across all industry segments, it is noteworthy that cancellations remain low, indicating strong fleet confidence as we move through the rest of this year and into next.”

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