A "capacity imbalance" continued to affect the North American Class 8 tractor market, reflected in May North American commercial truck order numbers as reported by ACT Research.

Class 8 orders in May rose 4% month over month, but contracted nearly 31% on a year over year basis, to a total of 14,224 units. Medium-duty net orders totaled 17,865 units, down month over month from a strong April as well as year over year, as expected.

“The Class 8 market, specifically the tractor segment, continues to be beset by a capacity imbalance brought by soft freight growth and exacerbated by an excess of trucks in service and inventory,” said Steve Tam, VP-commercial vehicle sector for ACT. “May Class 8 new and net orders rebounded from April’s cyclical lows, garnering the distinction of second lowest since July 2012, while cancellations increased, bringing a halt to three consecutive months of reductions,” he added.

Tam said that, for the most part, May results in the overall medium-duty market were directionally consistent with historical expectations. “While there is solace in the year-to-date performance, some moderate slowing is likely.” He added, “The pullback in orders appears to be the culmination of efforts to populate the distribution channel with new product, likely to result in a subsequent slowing of production and decumulation of inventory."

These results were published in the latest State of the Industry report from ACT Research, which covers Classes 5 through 8 vehicles for the North American market.