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Truck Orders Muted in Heavy and Medium Segments

June 03, 2016

Both heavy- and medium-duty truck orders are projected to have a subdued May, according to preliminary numbers from ACT Research and FTR.

North American Class 8 truck orders were up slightly compared to April, projected to be around 14,100 orders, according to FTR. Compared to May 2015, however, Class 8 orders were down by as much as 30% as the market has struggled to gain momentum so far this year.

“Three consecutive months of decidedly lower net orders for heavy duty commercial vehicles appear more closely aligned with current activity in the manufacturing and energy sectors of the broader economy,” said Steve Tam, ACT’s vice president of the commercial vehicle sector. “While metrics in these segments are improving, they can best be described as not being as bad as they were previously.”

The past three months of Class 8 order activity annualizes to 175,00 units, with the annualized rate for the past 12 months continuing to fall to its current level of 231,000 units.

“Fleets do not need to order many trucks in the current environment because in most cases they have enough trucks to handle the freight,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR. “Freight demand is still sluggish due to the build-up of business inventories.”

By contrast, medium-duty Class 5-7 orders have been higher this year, but are projected to have their weakest month since July 2014. ACT expects May’s medium-duty orders to 17,100 units– 14% lower than April and 18% lower than a year ago.

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