Preliminary NA Class 8 net orders in March fell to 7,800 units, down 45% from February and 51% lower than an easy year-ago comparison. March’s Classes 5-7 net orders were 14,700 units, down 36% from February and 31% from year-ago levels. Complete industry data for March, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-April.
ACT’s State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales, and general state of the on-road heavy and medium duty commercial vehicle markets in North America. It differentiates market indicators by Class 5, Classes 6-7 chassis and Class 8 trucks and tractors, detailing activity-related measures such as backlog, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and retail sales. Additionally, Class 5 and Classes 6-7 are segmented by trucks, buses, RVs, and step van configurations. The Class 8 market is segmented into trucks and tractors, with and without sleeper cabs. The report includes a six-month industry build plan, a backlog timing analysis, historical data from 1996 to the present in spreadsheet format, and a ready-to-use graph package. A first-look at preliminary net orders is also published in conjunction with this report.
“Supply-side restocking on goods from China and demand-side restocking to support the surge in consumer staples actually created a positive, if temporary, inflection in freight rates,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He continued, “However, increasingly bad news on the COVID front through the month and manufacturing beginning to shutter at the end of March were a heavy weight on an already overcapacitized industry operating a very young fleet.” Vieth also mentioned, “On a seasonally adjusted basis, March was the weakest Class 8 order month since February 2010, and with COVID-19 becoming an even hotter topic over the course of March, one wonders about the impact on order activity on a go-forward basis.”
Regarding medium duty activity in March, he noted, “After a reasonably buoyant February, the medium duty market felt the impact of COVID-19, if with less severe symptoms than Class 8. It is important to remember that March marks the beginning of the peak order season for medium duty vehicles.”
ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.
ACT’s 63rd seminar is scheduled for August 11-13, 2020, and will feature dealer, alternative power, and economic panels, as well as discussions on near-term demand of North American commercial vehicle markets and the pending impact of alternative power on the market in the near future.