Class 8 orders cool in April, but remain stronger than a year ago

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COLUMBUS & BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — April’s preliminary truck order activity contained mixed news for manufacturers.

With about 24,000 Class 8 trucks ordered, and 42,200 Classes 5-8 units, April was only the sixth best order month of the past seven, but it was also the 10th best order month of the past eight years, according to ACT Research. Since the beginning of Q4 2013, Classes 5-8 net orders have been booked at an annualized rate of 545,300 units, ACT reported.

“For Class 8, the 24,400 North American net orders that were booked in April represented the lowest intake since November. April’s orders were down 11% from March, and were up just 5% compared to a year ago. That single-digit year-over-year gain was just the second in 14 months of strong double-digit gains,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst with ACT. “Classes 5-7 saw strong orders continue through April. For the month, net orders rose 5% from April 2013, but fell to 2% from February to 17,800 units. Consistency continues to be a part of the MD vehicle order story.”

FTR reported preliminary figures showing Class 8 net orders of 24,115 units, 11% below March figures but still 5% above a year ago, marking the fifteenth straight month of y-o-y improvements.

Class 8 orders over the last six months have seen activity reach 334,000 units on an annualized rate. OEMs are expected to continue to raise build rates to meet the demand, FTR predicts.

Don Ake, FTR vice-president of commercial vehicles, said “April orders generally met our expectations and are in line with our forecast. Class 8 order activity was bound to fall back some from the velocity of the past four months. With orders up almost 28% year to date, the industry is on track for a great year.”

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