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ACT: NA Class 5-8 vehicle orders strong in February

March 4, 2021
Preliminary indications show Class 8 net orders of 43,800 units increased 212% from the same month last year

Preliminary North American Class 8 net orders in February were 43,800 units, up 4% from January, and a 212% improvement from year-ago February, according to ACT Research.

NA Classes 5-7 demand, with orders at 25,400 units, slid 4% sequentially but were still up 12% compared to last February. Complete industry data for February, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT in mid-March.

“Beyond warmer inflation numbers, there is much to like in the current stream of economic data that indicate broad-based economic activity,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “As has been the case over the course of this pandemic period, economic growth is being driven by the goods-producing sectors of the economy.

“Consumer spending on goods, a red-hot housing market, a reaccelerating manufacturing sector, and pent-up inventories combine to provide very good visibility to near- to mid-term freight trends. Contract freight rates are at record levels, as are spot rates, after seasonal adjustment. Without injecting stimulus or infrastructure into the discussion, there is a lot to like about freight, the carrier profit outlook, and by extension the commercial vehicle demand landscape.”

Regarding the medium-duty market, Vieth said: “The shift in consumer spending from experiences to goods continues to support providers of local trucking services, as e-commerce has grown by leaps and bounds in the pandemic economy.”

ACT’s State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales, and general state of the on-road heavy and medium duty commercial vehicle markets in North America. It differentiates market indicators by Class 5, Classes 6-7 chassis and Class 8 trucks and tractors, detailing activity-related measures such as backlog, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and retail sales.

The Class 8 market is segmented into trucks and tractors, with and without sleeper cabs. The report includes a six-month industry build plan, a backlog timing analysis, historical data from 1996 to the present in spreadsheet format, and a ready-to-use graph package.

A first look at preliminary net orders also is published in conjunction with this report.

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BT staff