Strong January orders for Class 8 and medium-duty trucks – especially for vocational units – may indicate that the “bottom” of the current truck buying slump may now be firmly in the industry’s rear-view mirror, according to Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst with ACT Research.
Heavy duty net orders jumped to a thirteen-month high in January at 22,188 units, he said in a statement “lending further support” to the notion that the second and third quarters of 2016 “marked the bottom of the current cycle.”
Vieth added that Class 8 backlogs “moved in the right direction” as well, with stronger orders and a “modest build” allowing backlogs to rise 7,600 units to 99,600 units in January compared to December last year.
On top of that, orders for vocational equipment jumped to a two-year high last month of 8,500 units, or 38.5% of January’s Class 8 order intake, he pointed out.
Echoing the positive demand of Class 8, Vieth noted that medium-duty net orders hit a six-month high of 22,744 units in January, which translated into a 3% month-over-month increase and a 31% year-over-year.
“The improvement was broad-based, with truck, bus and RV [recreational vehicle] orders all posting year-over-year and month-over-month gains,” he said. “January was the best month for medium-duty orders since February 2008.”