According to separate ACT Research and FTR reporting, October’s preliminary North American Class 8 orders jumped to 38,900 units and 40,100 units, respectively. The increase of 26-27% over September numbers is pointing to 2021 models, which will start seeing delivery in a few months.
FTR called October the first month to see more than 40,000 units since October of 2018, with orders up and up 83% year over year.
“September was the turning point for the Class 8 market,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR. “Fleets became much more confident about future freight demand and began placing large orders to replace older units and for expansion purposes, as capacity tightened. In just a few months, the industry has gone from fear, to hope, to optimism. It appears the industry has sluffed off the uncertainties about the pandemic for now.”
ACT Research agreed that October was the highest Classes 5-8 order tally in 26 months, adding that it is fifth consecutive positive year-over-year reading, after 18 consecutive months of negative comparisons.
“Keeping in mind the freight backdrop of consumer spending on goods expanding and those for services contracting, preliminary October NA Classes 5-8 vehicles order data rose to 68,200 units. That volume represented a 17% gain from September and an 80% improvement compared to year-ago October,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.
Regarding the medium-duty market, Vieth pointed to the “symbiotic relationship between heavy-duty freight rates and medium-duty demand,” adding that the shift in consumer spending to goods has helped carriers, especially with the boom in e-commerce during the pandemic.