ACT Research expects Class 8 truck orders to slip to a still robust 42,800 units, and when paired with record order highs in July and August, FTR expects the third quarter of 2018 to set an all-time record.
“Preliminary data indicate that in September, North American Class 8 orders were down 19% from August, but up 90% compared to year-ago September,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT president and senior analyst. He continued, “Through year-to-date September, Class 8 orders have totaled 397,200 units, an average monthly order intake of 44,100 units/month.”
September is still projected to be the 10th best month ever, despite being only seeing the 5th highest monthly volume in 2018, according to FTR. With strong freight growth and strained capacity, fleets are continuing to secure orders a year out for 2019.
“The pressure is on fleets to add capacity to keep up with a robust freight market,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “The economy is surging right now, putting stress on shippers to find trucks to deliver goods on time. Fleets don’t want to be stuck in the same situation next year, so they are placing huge orders for trucks well ahead of time.”
With all of the new truck orders, the supply chain is struggling to keep pace with the growing OEM builds.
“Demand, as indicated by the surge in orders, will be even stronger next year,” added Ake. “It is uncertain if suppliers can meet this challenge, as they compete for workers and materials in a vibrant economy.”
Medium-duty, Class 5-7 truck orders were also up in September, hitting a four-month high of 24,800 units, according to ACT Research. Over the past 12 months, ACT noted that orders have averaged 24,500 units per month.