North American Class 8 net orders rose in February for the first time in five months, reaching between 22,800 and 23,600 units, according to FTR and ACT Research, respectively.
February order activity was 13% above January and up 10% year-over-year, according to FTR.
Class 8 orders have totaled 303,000 units over the last 12 months.
February’s total represented a solid level of order activity, suggesting that there may be a stabilizing in the low 20,000-unit range, FTR officials said in a press release.
Order activity over the last six months has been strong at an annualized rate of 413,000 units.
“Orders likely are below build rates for the month, and FTR would anticipate backlogs to slip slightly," Eric Starks, chairman of the board, said. "However, backlogs remain at high levels and production slots are mainly filled through Q3 of this year. As such, the February performance is a good sign for the industry as fleets continue to order equipment.
Starks adds: “Over the past year, total net orders reached 303,000 units. In any market, this is a strong number. However, given the uncertainty in the economy, this is an especially welcome sign that demand has not collapsed and that fleets still have access to capital.”
Eric Crawford, ACT’s vice president and senior analyst, said while ACT doesn't forecast orders, "given how robust Class 8 orders were into year end, coupled with cautious readings from the ACT Class 8 Dashboard ... we expect orders in a range of 15,000-20,000 in the near term."
February’s order numbers represents a "modest upside to our expectation," Crawford said.