February Class 8 truck net orders held steady in February, at 17,650 units, according to the preliminary report from FTR.
That was down only 2% from January and down 43% year-over-year. FTR noted the results are falling into a more stable pattern. Orders have averaged 21,000 units over the last three months and the same average over the last 12 months.
Total orders over the last 12 months have been 254,000, close to FTR’s projections.
“The order patterns are very consistent with the current market situation. Fleets are basically finished expanding their truck capacity for this cycle,” said Don Ake, vice-president, commercial vehicles at FTR.
“Purchases are now for replacement demand and the average orders and expected build are right at this level. We should expect orders to stay in a relatively tight range, around the 18,000 – 20,000 unit mark, for the next several months. OEMs have made significant production cuts and look to now be right-sized for the order demand. As long as there is some freight growth, the market should be stable for the next several months. Despite the recent downturn in Class 8 demand, February backlogs are still expected to be 14% higher than two years ago.”
ACT Research reported February Class 8 net orders of 17,900 units and Classes 5-7 orders of 21,600 units.
“Orders for commercial vehicles in February largely mirrored the ongoing US economic narrative,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Healthy consumer-related indicators, such as disposable income, autos and houses, continue to support positive medium-duty demand. At the same time, ongoing weakness in the freight-rich manufacturing sector continues to weigh on heavy-duty demand.”
“February’s Class 8 orders fell 43% year-over-year against a tough February 2015 comparison. Class 8 orders were in line with January, however, down just 2% in a shorter and seasonally weaker order month,” said Vieth. “For medium-duty vehicles, the slow but steady rise in the order trend remained evident in February, with orders rising 9% compared to a year ago and 24% from January’s tepid intake.”