Bookings for new heavy-duty Class 8 tractors totaled 18,078 net orders in February, according to ACT Research Co., a figure that is down 42 percent year over year. Meanwhile, Classes 5-7 net orders were the highest since December 2014 at 22,316 units.
“The commercial vehicle industry — primarily the heavy-duty truck segment — continues to struggle with adjustments in response to last year’s optimism and resulting overshoot,” said Jim Meil, ACT’s principal of industry analysts. “Problems persist with excess freight-hauling capacity, a weak freight pricing environment, and the overstock of heavy-duty trucks at dealerships,” he added.
Meil said there are bright spots, but that they are tentative and may take to impart positive momentum to the market. He cited anecdotal information and analyst conversations that suggest stronger-than-expected results at the start of the year, seemingly counter to the data.
“Meanwhile, medium-duty is well positioned for continued steady growth into 2016,” said Meil. He attributed this to healthy consumer balance sheets, rising new home construction, improved state and local government budgets, and an absence of overbuying.