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July truck orders surge 70%, set new six-month high

Jason Cannon August 6, 2014

Truck orders for July – historically the worst month of the year – not only beat expectations, but set a new six-month high.

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“In July, historically the weakest month for order volumes, NA Class 8 net orders again rose above expectations to a six-month high 29,900 units,” says Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. “That volume marked an improvement of 12 percent from June and 70 percent compared to year-ago July,” said Vieth.

In addition to a continuation of the ongoing strong order trend, Vieth attributed some of the non-seasonal strength in July to the rapidly dwindling supply of available build slots in 2014.

Demand for commercial vehicles reached 45,400 total units in North American classes 5-8. In the ten months since the start of stronger orders last October, NA Classes 5-8 net orders have been booked at an average of 45,200 units per month. Annualized, that represents a total Classes 5-8 order volume of 542,400 units.

“July’s preliminary 15,500 NA Classes 5-7 net orders fell almost perfectly between the May and June volumes,” Veith says. “The preliminary result is also middle of the road in terms of comparisons: up 3 percent month-over-month, but down 4 percent compared to year ago levels, making a third consecutive below year-ago reading.”

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Preliminary data from FTR shows July 2014 North American Class 8 truck net orders at 29,516 units, a 71 percent year-over-year increase and the second best July ever.

Class 8 orders have now had 18 consecutive months with year-over-year increases. Class 8 orders for the latest six-month period through July annualize to 325,000 units.

“July is typically the weakest month of the year for orders, but the market is actually gaining strength in the summer,” says Don Ake, FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles. “This is the third straight month of order increases.  Orders for the last 12 months have been 312,000 units, so production should catch up at some point.”

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