New orders for Class 8 trucks set a record during July, according to two research firms.
ACT Research said preliminary North American Class 8 orders were 52,400 units in July, an all-time high made even more impressive considering the month is typically the weakest of the year.
The July order total was 24% higher than the previous month, and topped the single-month record of 52,194 set in March 2006. It was also nearly 180% higher than July 2017.
"Besides capturing the distinction of the best month in the current rally nominally, on a seasonally adjusted basis orders are also the best on record, outpacing the March 2006 order intake by 13,500 units,” said Steve Tam, ACT’s vice president.
In a separate report, FTR said its research showed preliminary July orders at 52,250. FTR noted five of the 12 highest order months ever have occurred in the first seven months of 2017. For the past 12 moths, orders have totaled 445,000 units.
Fleets are placing a large volume of orders in the hopes of getting deliveries in the future, FTR said.
“It is uncertain when suppliers will be able to improve delivery times and for OEMs’ to ship all orders on time. Realistically it may take up to a year for everyone to catch up,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles.
Ake added: “It is a bizarre occurrence and it will not be resolved soon. Conditions may be abnormal, but they are abnormally good.”
Meanwhile, ACT noted that while heavy-duty orders are surging, medium duty activity slowed in July, with preliminary Classes 5-7 orders falling 27% from the prior month to 19,500 units. For the year, orders are up 18%.