Class 8 tractor net orders were just over 22,400 units in April, while Classes 5-7 posted 17,700 net orders. These results were published in the latest State of the Industry report, recently released by ACT Research Co. (ACT). The report covers Classes 5 through 8 vehicles for the North American market.
Meanwhile, trailer net orders in April, at 18,000 units, slid 22 percent versus March, according to the trailer segment of the ACT report.
Jim Meil, ACT’s principal and industry analysis, said Class 8 orders fell to a 17-month low. “On a seasonally adjusted basis, net orders in April were 21, 288 units — the lowest reading since November 2013.”
According to Meil, “These are numbers that would be close to an average monthly reading in an expanding economy, but the current context is that the prior six months’ net orders run-rate was 400,000 on an annualized basis and some correction from these unsustainable levels was inevitable.”
Concerning medium-duty truck orders, Meil said, “The medium-duty market in April was satisfactory, but not stellar, breaking a string of four consecutive months of year-over-year increases.” He continued, “There was also a tough comp at work, with April 2014 being the second strongest orders month of the year, seasonally adjusted, which probably says more about the strength of the base period than about current weakness.”
Regarding slips in trailer orders, Frank Maly, director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT, said, “The fact that net orders are down year over year for the third consecutive month will likely cause much conversation, and perhaps even concern for some.
“And while there is no escaping that fact, one must consider the context of the recent over under-performance.”
Maly noted that the tremendous surge in orders experienced from September to January was front-loaded as large fleets, and their investment commitments pulled the seasonal cycle forward in a race to get orders placed to ensure timely deliveries. “Our view that 2015 will be the best trailer market since the late 1990s remains unchanged,” he added.