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Class 8 Orders Reflect Growing Market

Early numbers indicate a positive month for September’s North American Class 8 truck orders as the market continues to gain momentum heading into the fall order season, according to preliminary reports from FTR and ACT Research.

Order volume for September met FTR’s expectations, hitting 22,100 units for the month – an increase of 7% from August and 62% better than Sept. 2017. Orders from Canada were particularly strong, benefiting from a strong economy. ACT Research expects Class 8 orders to hit 22,600 units by their own projections, which represents the fourth straight month of order improvement since a dip in orders in May.

“The recovery in the Class 8 market is building, and we saw that with the orders through the summer,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR. “Order totals never got that low and followed cyclical trends.  This is a healthy, growing truck market, which is in excellent position for greater expansion in 2018.  Class 8 order rates are expected to jump in Q4.”

“Stronger freight growth generated by a more vibrant U.S. economy will spur demand for additional trucks next year,” said Ake. “Factor in the loss of productivity from the ELDs, and fleets will have to expand capacity to haul the available freight.”

ACT Research also released its preliminary Class 5-7 medium-duty numbers, totaling 20,900 units for the month, hitting a three-month high. Combined medium- and heavy-duty order numbers are expected to hit a 27-month high when seasonally adjusted, according to ACT.

“September orders were positive month over month, improving 11% from August, and eked out a small 2.1% gain year over year,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research. “Seasonal adjustment generates a drag on MD orders in September, reducing the month’s volume by 600 units to 20,300 units.”

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