North America Class 8 production hits 18-month high in May

June 20, 2017

Following the first quarter’s stronger orders, heavy-duty truck production picked up starting in April. In May, a long month and a rising build rate combined to drive NA Class 8 production to an 18-month high.

“Annualized, May’s production rate equals a full-year production of 263k units,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research.

With orders softening as truck build ramps up, Class 8 backlogs dropped nearly 7,000 units from April. Backlog analysis continues to show a very large front-end component to orders.

 “The second quarter of 2017 is effectively filled and of the units of production planned in Q3, only 18,200 build slots were empty,” Vieth said. “Q4 remains wide open, with nearly 70% of the quarter’s planned build slots remaining unfilled.”

Completing the circle of data that starts with stronger orders leading to higher build rates, retail sales accelerated in May. Class 8 retail sales jumped in May to 21,200 units, falling just short of December’s sales volume as the best sales month in the past year.