Class 8 truck orders are expected to be strong again in February, beating expectations for the second month in a row, according to preliminary numbers from ACT Research and FTR.

February Class 8 truck orders are projected to hit 22,900 units for the month, according to FTR, up 5% compared to January and 28% year-over-year. The strong activity for the month continues a trend that began in November, showing that the market has continued to gain steam.

“Orders rose 28% vs. year-ago February. That gain was only the third positive year-over-year comparison in the past two years,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.

Current order volumes should allow production to meet or exceed expectations for the second quarter.

“Orders have increased for four straight months, indicating the market is making a solid recovery after the second-half slump in 2016,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR.  "This order cycle is much flatter and longer than usual, but this is a healthy order total for a February.  March orders may not decline that much.  This is what a turning point looks like.”

Medium-duty Class 5-7 truck orders are expected to be nearly identical to January’s numbers at 22,700 units, according to ACT Research.

“While actual orders were in-line, seasonal adjustment provides a drag in February vs. boost in January,” said Vieth. “When seasonally adjusted, the net order volume drops to 21,450 units, down 11% compared to the seasonally adjusted January volume.”