Class 8 orders keep falling but mediumduty orders are holding steady according to numbers tallied by ACT and FTR Photo by Sean KilcarrFleet Owner

Class 8 orders keep falling but medium-duty orders are holding steady, according to numbers tallied by ACT and FTR. (Photo by Sean Kilcarr/Fleet Owner)

Class 8 orders continue slump in September

Order decline makes “crystal clear” trucking’s ongoing struggle to balance capacity against “anemic” freight growth, say analysts.

Class 8 orders continued to fall in September, according to data tracked by ACT Research and FTR, though orders for Class 5-6 medium-duty units continues to remain steady.

ACT said 13,900 Class 8 vehicle net orders dipped to 13,900 units in September, some 28% below order intake during the same month in 2015, noted Steve Tam, the firm’s vice president, in a statement.

“It remains crystal clear that truckers are still struggling to balance excess freight hauling capacity in the context of anemic freight growth,” he said.

Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles, said his company’s data indicates Class 8 orders fell to 13,800 units in September – some 2% lower versus August this year.

However, he noted in a statement that “this was the worst month of September since 2009” and that Class 8 order volume over the last 12 month now totals 201,000 units.

“The truck market continued to stay weak through September, but this was highly expected considering the slower industry conditions and overall seasonal trends,” Ake said. “Fleets are cautious due to an uncertain economy and slow freight growth.”

He added that Class 8 inventories also remain high, which is also restraining new orders.

Ake also pointed out that October order intake will be “a critical sign” for Class 8 volumes in 2017. 

“Large fleets are expected to begin ordering replacement units for 2017,” he explained. “If the economy does improve and the trucking outlook brightens, then medium-sized fleets and others should feel confident enough to order also in coming months. This would put the market near replacement levels in 2017.”

In the medium-duty segment, Class-5-7 orders are holding steady, according to ACT’s Tam – inching up to 20,400 units in September and rising 2% increase year-to-date.

“Because of its limited exposure to the freight economy, the Class 5-7 market continues to distinguish itself from the Class 8 market,” Tam stressed, “Rising 2% year-to-date, medium duty net orders exemplified the solid, sustainable growth that has been typical of the consumer during this economic cycle.”

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