Class 8 truck orders have surpassed expectations in February, at 40,200 units for the month, according to preliminary reports from FTR and ACT Research.

“The Class 8 market remains red-hot,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR. “The capacity crunch is transforming into a capacity crisis and many fleets of all sizes, in all markets, across the country are scrambling to add trucks as fast as they can.”

It was the second consecutive month with Class 8 orders exceeding the 40,000-unit mark – something that hasn’t happened since the November-December time frame in 2014. Compared to January orders, February orders were down 15%, but were up 65% compared to Feb. 2017.

“We believe the strong orders should be viewed favorably, though they will also add support to the argument that 2018 will represent a cyclical production peak,” stated trucking industry analysts at Stifel in a report. “We, on the other hand, continue to believe 2019 demand will be fairly stable at high levels.”

Truck orders have been at exceptionally high levels in recent months, as fleets are trying to add hauling capacity to meet strong freight growth, according to FTR. Medium duty Class 5-7 truck orders were also strong February.

“In February, Classes 5-7 orders fell 15% from January to a still-strong 26,700 units – the second best month since July 2006 and the third best month on record,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.