ACT survey finds March Class 8 demand down; slow rise for medium duty

April 6, 2016

For the month of March, 37,700 new Classes 5-8 vehicle orders were booked, according to the latest ACT Research report. Class 8 garnered 16,000 orders and for Classes 5-7, 21,700 orders were placed.

Note that these numbers are preliminary. Final March numbers will be published in mid-April.

“MD and HD demand, as mirrored by new order activity, remain on divergent paths that are tracking their niches in the broader economy,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “In the case of MD demand, a decent jobs market and rising incomes continue to support discretionary spending and improved housing activity, but ongoing weakness in the freight-rich manufacturing sector and excessive inventories in the broader economy continue to weigh on new HD demand.

“March’s Class 8 orders fell 37% year-over-year and were down 12% from February, amid the ongoing overcapacity narrative, a resulting weak freight rate environment, weakness in late-model used truck values, and excessive new vehicle stocks.

“For medium-duty vehicles, the slow but steady rise in the order trend remained evident in March, with orders rising 4% against a tough y/y comparison. Order strength through Q1 continues a period of meaningfully stronger orders which began last September.”