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Class 8 orders hit year-long high in February

Jason Cannon March 5, 2013

North American Class 8 preliminary net orders for February rose both month-over-month and year-over-year, narrowly topping October 2012 to reach its highest point since January 2012, according to ACT Research.

The final numbers, which will be released mid-March, are expected to approach 23,300 units for Class 8 and 16,400 for medium-duty Classes 5-7 vehicles and trucks. The preliminary net order numbers are typically accurate to within 5 percent of actual, according to ACT.

“With Class 8 build in February below 20,000 units, backlogs should rise once again,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research. “On a seasonally adjusted basis, February’s Class 8 net orders were 22,900 units, in a dead heat for the best reading in the past year. Medium-duty orders easily outpaced both January 2013 and February 2012. February’s volume was up 13% versus last year. Similar to the Class 8 market, Classes 5-7 net orders above February’s build expectations suggests backlogs are likely to have moved higher.”

FTR Associates also released preliminary data showing February Class 8 truck net orders at 23,011, a 4 percent increase over both January and the prior year. Orders for Class 8 vehicles have been consistently above the 20,000 mark since October 2012 with an annualized rate of 263,600 units over the last three months. Preliminary order numbers are for all major North American OEMs.

“In February we saw a year-over-year improvement in orders which is a positive development. The modestly robust freight environment that we are currently in is being reflected in truck orders as carriers purchase needed replacements. Since we are at the tail end of the typical ordering season we see no indication that the market will get above those replacement levels during 2013,” Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis for FTR says.

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