Preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 10,200 units in July, down 21% from June and the lowest monthly order tally since February 2010. Note that these numbers are preliminary. Complete industry data for July, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-August.
In the release of its Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest, ACT Research noted that the heavy truck and trailer industries are heading for a market correction in 2020, even as the US economic picture remains largely unchanged, aside from concerns about trade and tariffs. The key driver of the near to mid-term outlook is the US consumer, who remains well positioned to keep the economy out of the ditch, even as key freight-generating sectors of the economy take a pause.
US and Canadian Class 8 Natural Gas truck retail sales for the first five months of 2019 gained 43% year-to-date, according to a recent quarterly report (AFQ: Alternative Fuels Quarterly) released by ACT Research. Year-to-date sales at this point in 2018 were down 18%, following a 13% full-year increase in 2017.
According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, the Class 8 market is on the cusp of a significant correction. At the same time, the medium duty market continued to confound in May, with forward-looking indicators deteriorating and concurrent data suggesting moderate growth.
The average price of total used Class 8 trucks in June was virtually flat, gaining just 2% month-over-month. Longer term, prices were up 10% year-to-date and 6% higher compared to June of 2018, according to the latest release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks, published by ACT Research. The report also indicated used Class 8 same dealer sales volumes fell 10% m/m, 26% y/y, and 18% year-to-date compared to the first six months of 2018. On a month-over-month basis, average mileage dropped 2%, while average age was down 5%.
New US trailer orders of 11.3k were down 27% month-over-month, but after accounting for cancellations, net orders slid to 6k units, down 42% from May. Year-to-date net orders are 43% below last year, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report.
The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, June data, showed nearly across-the-board declines, with capacity again the lone exception. The Volume Index dropped further into negative territory, falling to 43.2 (SA) in June, from 46.7 in May. The June Pricing Index, at 43.8 (SA), recovered a good bit of last month’s sharp decline, up from 38.8 in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, the lowest in survey history.
According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Report, June’s Class 8 order broke the string of falling order volumes, with the opening of 2020 order books, garnering a 19% rebound. While better orders slowed the rapid backlog decline, the situation is temporary, as coming months represent the seasonally weakest order period of the year, suggesting rapid backlog declines should continue in the near-term.
ACT’s preliminary estimate for June 2019 net trailer orders is 6,200 units. Final volume will be available later this month. This preliminary market estimate should be within +/- 3% of the final order tally.
Preliminary used Class 8 volumes (same dealer sales) fell 8% month-over-month in June, the third consecutive sequential drop, according to the latest preliminary release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks published by ACT Research. Additionally, the report indicated that longer-term comparisons yielded a 25% decline compared to June 2018, as well as a year-to-date drop of 18%.