According to both ACT Research and FTR, preliminary North American Class 8 net orders jumped to around 20,000 units in July. This 27-28% increase effectively doubled the amount of trucks sold in July 2019.
“Preliminary data show that July orders for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles jumped to a six-month high,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.
FTR highlighted the strengthening truck market in June and July as the push needed to increase new truck orders. But even with demand for new trucks better than expected, uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak and Congressional action on unemployment benefits could stifle the market this fall.
“As we hit the height of summer demand, the freight markets showed strength and resilience and that led to additional orders for trucks,” said Jonathan Starks, chief intelligence officer at FTR. “The order activity for both June and July was more robust than expected and is good news for the equipment producers. However, despite the increasing orders, FTR still expects the Class 8 market to maintain a slow, steady recovery.”
According to Vieth, data showing the U.S. economy was 9.5% lower in Q2 than it was in Q1 and 10.6% below its end of 2019 level was recently made public, adding, “when the COVID began to bite in late February, there was a strong case to be made that the trucking industry was suffering from lingering overcapacity that was still putting downward pressure on freight rates, and by extension, carrier profitability.”