April Class 8 demand slides; medium duty remains healthy

May 4, 2016

For the month of April, 33,800 new Classes 5-8 vehicle orders were booked. Class 8 garnered 13,700 orders and Classes 5-7 recorded 20,100 orders, according to ACT Research. Note that these numbers are preliminary with final April numbers coming in mid-May.

“Despite increasingly easy year-over-year comparisons, demand for Class 8 vehicles continued to lose traction in April, with orders slipping 39% year over year and 16% sequentially,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.

He added that the drivers of soft Class 8 demand remain intact from previous months: an ongoing overcapacity narrative, a resulting weak freight rate environment, softness in late-model used truck values, and excessive new vehicle stocks.

“The healthy medium duty order trend, which began in September 2015, continued in April, although at a modestly reduced rate,” Vieth said. “Orders fell 10% sequentially from one of the best order months experienced cycle-to-date, but were up 12% compared to year-ago April orders.”

Vieth said that medium-duty demand was bolstered by a decent jobs market and rising incomes, which support discretionary spending and improved housing and automotive sales activity.