ACT Research
Kenny Vieth Act 61 294

ACT: Class 5-8 vehicle orders stay positive for fifth consecutive month

Nov. 10, 2020
Fleets order 26-month-high 68,200 medium- and heavy-duty trucks in October as consumer good spending expands

Preliminary North American Class 8 net orders in October were 38,900 units, up 27% from September and a 78% improvement from year-ago October, according to ACT Research.

Additionally, the firm said NA demand for Classes 5-7 jumped to a 10-quarter high (March 2018) in October, rising to 29,300 units. That order volume represents an improvement of 6% from September and an 84% uptick compared to last year.

“Keeping in mind the freight backdrop of consumer spending on goods expanding and those for services contracting, preliminary October NA Classes 5-8 vehicles order data rose to 68,200 units,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “That volume represented a 17% gain from September and an 80% improvement compared to year-ago October.

“October was the largest Classes 5-8 order tally in 26 months, and this month’s orders marked a fifth consecutive positive year-over-year reading, after 18 consecutive months of negative comparisons.”

Regarding the medium-duty market, Vieth added: “There is a symbiotic relationship between heavy-duty freight rates and medium-duty demand, and clearly, the shift in consumer spending from experiences to goods has been beneficial for the providers of local trucking services, as e-commerce has grown by leaps and bounds during the pandemic.”

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. Additionally, Class 5 and Classes 6-7 are segmented by trucks, buses, RVs, and step van configurations. 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 is also published in conjunction with this report.

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