Fleets scrambling to secure Class 8 build slots

by Truck News

Preliminary North American Class 8 orders totaled 46,300 units according to FTR, marking the third best month ever.

They came in 15% above February’s tally and are up 103% year-over-year. Class 8 orders for the first quarter were the largest of any quarter in history. FTR says some OEMs had exceptional order months as fleets scrambled to lock in order slots for this year. North American Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 357,000 units.

“The current capacity crisis may be the worst ever,” said Don Ake, vice-president of commercial vehicles, FTR. “Capacity is extremely tight and expected to remain this way for months. Fleets need more trucks to handle huge freight demand and continue to order trucks at record setting rates. OEM 2018 build slots are quickly filling up. Freight growth continues to climb at a rapid rate.  The vibrant economy is pushing dry van and refrigerated van loads to elevated levels and renewed oil drilling is generating a tremendous amount of flatbed freight.”

The medium-duty order picture was equally bright for truck makers. ACT Research reported preliminary figures of more than 70,000 Classes 5-8 units in March.

“For only the fourth time on record and for the second time in Q1 2018, medium-duty and heavy-duty orders combined to exceed 70,000 units in a month, as activity in both the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle markets remained strong,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Our preliminary look at North American Classes 5-8 net orders for March show that orders rose 55% year-over-year, 11% above February’s order intake.”

March orders capped the best order quarter since Q1 2016 for medium-duty trucks.

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