August Class 8 orders jump 20%

Jason Cannon

September 9, 2013

kenworth_trucksClass 8 orders climbed to their highest level in three months in August with a preliminary reading of 19,500 units – a 20 percent gain over August of last year.

“August is typically a strong month for medium-duty vehicle orders,” Kenny Vieth, president & senior analyst for ACT Research, says. “As a result, seasonal adjustment causes a modest decline in the order total to 17,500 units, the third best SA order total since early 2008.”

Preliminary data from FTR Associates shows August Class 8 truck net orders at 19,178 units – an 11 percent improvement over July and 21 percent boost above a year ago.

The August seasonal factor is the third lowest in 2013. When applied, August’s seasonally adjusted Class 8 order total rises to 22,000 units. The August SA reading represents the third best order month in the past 20 months.

Classes 6-7 orders for August were the best in more than five years. Preliminary August orders for Classes 5-7 rose to 18,000 units. That aggregate volume was also the best since February 2008, according to ACT.

August was the third consecutive month with Class 8 orders below 20,000, which resulting in annualized orders for the six-month period including August dropping to 244,400 units.

“Class 8 orders for August were generally in line with FTR expectations,” Eric Starks, FTR’s president, says. “While the numbers are significantly better than what we saw at this time last year, they are still noticeably below the build levels posted in July.”

The build numbers for July were 22,105 units, and with orders only reaching 19,200 units Starks says it is likely production levels will ease back over the next few months to meet order rates that have only averaged 18,300 units over the last three months.

“The September order number will be the one to watch and will tell us if we can expect to see a pickup later in the fourth quarter,” he says. “If the numbers stay near current levels then we will likely see a flat fourth quarter with regards to production.”

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