Fleets rushed to secure truck availability in September, with preliminary data showing orders for 42,300 units, according to FTR.
That set an all-time high for the third quarter, with 146,800 orders, and September was the 10th best month ever. FTR says steady freight growth continues to strain capacity and fleets are placing orders a year in advance to secure trucks through 2019. Class 8 orders through the last 12 months now total 497,000 units.
“The pressure is on fleets to add capacity to keep up with a robust freight market,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice-president of commercial vehicles. “The economy is surging right now, putting stress on shippers to find trucks to deliver goods on time. Fleets don’t want to be stuck in the same situation next year, so they are placing huge orders for trucks well ahead of time.”
Ake said the focus is now on the supply chain.
“Parts and component suppliers have struggled to keep pace with the growing OEM builds this year. Demand, as indicated by the surge in orders, will be even stronger next year. It is uncertain if suppliers can meet this challenge, as they compete for workers and materials in a vibrant economy,” Ake said.
ACT Research reported preliminary numbers of 42,800 units.
“Preliminary data indicate that in September, North American Class 8 orders were down 19% from August, but up 90% compared to year-ago September,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Through year-to-date September, Class 8 orders have totaled 397,200 units, an average monthly order intake of 44,100 units per month. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the past three months’ orders represent the three strongest order months in history, with the past three months’ Class 8 orders climbing to 711,000 units SAAR. Reaching back to June, on a seasonally adjusted basis the past four months are four of the five strongest in history.”
ACT reported that medium-duty orders hit a four-month high in September at 24,800 units.
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