Class 8 net orders started 2014 with a high-side surprise, up 9% month-over-month and 51% year-over-year. Classes 5-7 also got off to a good start with orders up 14% month-over-month and 33% year-over-year. This updated status of the North America commercial vehicle market was included in the State of the Industry report, recently released by ACT Research Co.
“While orders were strong, one has to read between the lines to appreciate Class 8 retail sales in January. Thanks to year-ending tax and sales incentives, Class 8 retail sales posted a sharp drop in January from December. But this is the case every year,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research Co. “However, applying seasonal adjustment gives a better picture: Adjusted Class 8 sales rose 9% month-over-month to a 22-month high. Strong orders pushed backlogs to a 22-month high and the backlog/build ratio jumped to 4.9 months.”
“For medium duty, all of January’s sequential order strength and most of the year-over-year improvement came from the heavier end of the market, Classes 6-7. Broken down by vehicle type, trucks accounted for virtually all of the sequential order increase,” Vieth said.
While the number of spot market loads on the DAT network of load boards fell last week along with truck posts, rates changed little.