Class 8 truck orders had another banner month in May and demand shows no signs of slowing down, according to the latest preliminary report from ACT Research.
ACT Research projects 35,600 heavy-duty truck orders for May, an increase of 2.5% over April. As an example of the continued strength of the equipment market this year, combined April and May order volume more than doubled the same stretch in 2017.
When accounting for seasonal adjustment, May’s projected truck order numbers look even better with Class 8 orders being booked at a 475,000-unit rate year to date.
“Preliminary net order data indicate that demand for Class 8 trucks continued in robust fashion in May,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior Analyst. “Seasonal adjustment begins to inflect positively this month. When adjusted, May’s Class 8 net order volume rises to 39,800 units.”
FTR Intelligence, which also tracks monthly Class 8 new truck orders, said that the past six months have averaged 40,000 orders per month, higher than in any other year the trucking industry has seen. The orders are being driven by increasingly tight capacity, as fleets are trying to meet increased freight demand with more equipment.
Making matters worse, manufacturers have been slow to deliver truck parts and components, according to FTR. These conditions have added to the frenzy of orders as fleets grab any available build slot in the hopes that they will receive more trucks before the end of the year.
“This is the tightest capacity crunch ever,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “Long-time veterans in this industry are saying this is the best freight market they have ever seen. Fleets cannot add capacity fast enough and as long as the economy and manufacturing are going great, this capacity crisis will continue.”