Truck orders: Hint of improvement in August numbers

Class 8 commercial vehicle net orders inched up in August 2009 to their highest level since November of 2008, according to the latest State of the Industry report released by ACT Research Co., LLC

Class 8 commercial vehicle net orders inched up in August 2009 to their highest level since November of 2008, according to the latest State of the Industry report released by ACT Research Co., LLC (ACT). But despite “sequential improvement,” Class 8 net orders were still down 30% year over year. Medium-duty Class 5-7 net orders were up 75% from the year before-- influenced by a large order for buses and strong pullback in cancellations, noted the report.

August new Class 8 orders rose 15% from July. However, ACT found cancellations remained elevated again in August, bringing the net order number down to a less robust month-over-month gain.

August’s Class 5-7 vehicle net orders “varied dramatically” by vehicle type. Medium-duty truck orders rose to a five-month high, but were down 26% from the same month a year ago. Buses and stepvans posted very strong net orders in August, although there is little to suggest these higher levels are sustainable, according to the report..

Even though hauling capacity has been coming out of the market through below replacement level retail sales and strong exports of used equipment, Class 8 overcapacity remains an issue limiting near-term demand, ” said Kenny Vieth, partner & senior analyst with ACT. “While order activity has begun to make modest strides, there is no suggestion that demand is poised for a sustained break-out above replacement level volumes any time soon.”

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