After a strong 2014, new truck orders have started off with a bang in 2015. According to data compiled by FTR, January 2015 North American Class 8 truck net orders came in at 35,060 units, off slightly from 2014’s fourth quarter pace, but still the strongest January numbers since 2006.
Year-over-year, orders were up 2%. Class 8 orders have totaled 377,000 over the past 12 months, FTR said.
“Even though orders were their lowest in the last four months, the market remains very robust,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles. “Fleets are now trying to determine their requirements for the entire year and then place orders accordingly. With limited build slots available, they have to be more strategic in their buying decisions. We should see more normal ordering cycles for the next few months. The orders this month continue to support the strong FTR forecast and are right in line with our expectations.”
On the medium-duty side, orders also remained strong. ACT Research, which reports Class 5-8 orders, said January’s numbers for the four classes reached 53,200 units, a 5% improvement over January 2014.
The January totals were down 21% from December, ACT said, and hit their lowest mark since September 2014.
“After three consecutive months in which Class 8 orders rose above 40,000 units, January’s Class 8 order intake of 35,400 units appears pedestrian,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president & senior analyst. “However, while October-December represent the three strongest months cycle-to-date, January orders tilt the scale at a respectable fifth best, and are closely aligned with the 6-month order trend.
“Similar to Class 8, January’s medium duty orders don’t live up to the strong Q4 pace, but rise above year-ago activity,” Vieth added. “At 17,800 units in January, Classes 5-7 orders rose 11% compared to year-ago levels, but fell 22% from December’s second best month of the cycle order volume. January’s MD orders fell slightly below build expectations, suggesting that backlogs are likely to be 1,000 to 2,000 units lower when the complete data set is compiled mid-month in ACT’s SOI: Classes 5-8 Vehicles report.
ACT said final numbers will be available later this month. FTR will release final data as part of its North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service later this month.