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ACT reports Class 8 net orders are up 93 percent

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Published about two weeks after the end of the month, the “State of the Industry: N.A. Classes 5-8 Vehicles” report offers the most up-to-date commercial vehicle market indicators available.

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
July 21, 2010

Even though trucking capacity remains tight, an ongoing increase in Class 8 commercial vehicle orders and production remains strong, according to data released by ACT Research, a provider of data and analysis for trucks and other commercial vehicles.

In its “State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles” report, ACT said net orders for Class 8 vehicles reached its highest level of the year, with a 93 percent year-over-year gain in June, which topped an 84 percent bump in May. ACT also noted that June’s 15,999 Class 8 net orders were 21 percent higher than May.

ACT Vice President Steve Tam said in a statement that early second quarter reports from publicly traded truckload carriers confirm an improving freight transportation market, with revenues and profits up significantly from 2009. Tam also said that overall orders are still below replacement levels but momentum is building as profitability improves for carriers.

A typical unit replacement figure for a full year is about 200,000 Class 8 vehicles, ACT Partner and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth recently told LM. He added that the total projection for replacement vehicles is nearly 150,000 units. In recent months, large carriers like J.B. Hunt and Con-way Freight, among others, have made significant replacement truck orders.

“The good news is the forecast is going up and also that even though the forecast is going up it is still well below replacement levels for equipment so capacity continues to bleed out of the market, with incremental improvement in demand,” said Vieth.

Even though demand is improving, the current situation is still not a case of carriers asking for “as many trucks as you can build me right now,” Vieth explained. But he did say this may be coming in the next four-to-six months.

What’s more, Vieth said there have been modest upside surprises on orders in the last three months, which has been encouraging from an equipment perspective.

“What has been nice from an equipment perspective is the strength of demand has hit in all north American markets—in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and up across equipment types so we have seen orders for tractors with and without sleepers going up,” said Vieth. “We have seen an increase in day cab trucks, and it is kind of everything being just a little bit better than it was.”

While production levels for Class 8 trucks are below replacement levels, Vieth said there continues to be an upward trend in used truck pricing. And over the past six months, he said ACT has seen a $5,000 increase in the six-month run rate it tracks over the past six months. ACT expects an increase of another $5,000 over the next three-to-five months.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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