March truck orders promising; but market still soft

COLUMBUS, Ind. — March Class 8 truck orders were up 28 percent from the same month a year-ago, but the market for sales is still weak, says ACT Research.

According to its latest State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicle, ACT reported Class 8 net orders at 11,285 units in March.

While the March figures are strong, ACT says they come off a very weak 2009. While expectations for orders during the first quarter were low due to the implementation of the EPA 2010 emissions mandate, the last two months have been stronger than anticipated. Medium-duty Class 5-7 net orders also grew by 20 percent from March 2009.

"The combination of the introduction of higher-priced new engine technology and a weak used truck market continue to restrain demand for new commercial vehicles," said Kenny Vieth, partner and senior analyst with ACT. "However, an improving economy is shrinking the excess hauling capacity in the trucking sector, which will lead to improving profits and the need to replace an aging fleet."

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