BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Class 8 orders are strong once again.
Both FTR and ACT Research reported orders for October surpassing 43,000 units for the eighth month in a row. October 2018 orders were the 10th best ever; 2% above a strong September and 19% better than a year ago. Fleets continue to order a record number of trucks to secure remaining build slots in 2019. Freight volumes are now expected to be healthy well into the second half of 2019, keeping capacity utilization at extremely tight levels for an extended period. North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have now totaled 504,000 units.
“October marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the current cyclical surge for Class 8 orders, making year-over-year comparisons narrow appreciably,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Through year-to-date October, Class 8 orders totaled 440,700 units. In the twelve months ending October, a 12-month record 510,900 units have been booked. In 2018, October had the third strongest order seasonal factor. As such, actual data receives a substantial haircut when seasonally adjusted. On that basis, October’s order intake drops to 37,800 units, down 26% from September.”
Don Ake, FTR vice-president of commercial vehicles, commented: “October is traditionally the start of the next year’s order season, so to see strong numbers now is not surprising. But ordering for 2019 began in July with back-to-back record months. For orders to still be this hefty in October after that is remarkable.
“Fleets want to make sure they have access to new trucks, as the growing economy continues to stretch capacity. They continue to place a record number of orders to ensure they will have the trucks needed if freight levels keep growing.
“Months exceeding 40,000 Class 8 trucks had been a rare occurrence, only happening five times before 2018. However, October is the eighth month of forty-plus orders this year. Activity may start to fall off soon, as available build slots in 2019 diminish.”