ECONOMIC WATCH: Class 8 orders rebounded in December

by Truck News

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Preliminary Class 8 truck orders reported by ACT Research totaled 20,000 units in December, up 14% from November and down just 6.5% year-over-year.

“Overbuying through 2019 and insufficient freight to absorb the ensuing capacity overhang continued to weigh on the front end of the Class 8 demand cycle in December,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.

“Recalling July and August, orders were down 80% from the corresponding months in 2018. December’s orders brought the full-year 2019 volume to 181,000 units versus 490,100 units in 2018. For all of Q4, Class 8 orders were booked at a slightly above the 2019 trend 195,600-unit SAAR.”

FTR also reported preliminary orders of 20,000 units.

Don Ake, FTR’s vice-president commercial vehicles commented “This is as balanced and stable as you are going to see in Class 8 ordering. Fleets are ordering trucks according to their standard replacement cycles and also for normal delivery cycles. They are not speculating about the future direction of the freight market because there is too much uncertainty. This is a wait-and-see approach.

“The freight market is strong, but growth has stalled. The good fleets are making money, the weak fleets are leaving the industry. It is a rebalancing environment. Fleets have the funds to replace old units and with a growing economy, they have the confidence to do so. However, the equipment market is in a holding pattern due to economic and political factors. The political uncertainty will only intensify up to the election.”

ACT Research
Kenny Vieth

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