ACT Research: North American Class 8 Net Orders Hit Nine-Month High in July

According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, the US economy continued to post good numbers in July, including a 1.2% month-over-month increase in retail sales, indicating that consumers’ wallets remain open for spending. Along with an increase in industrial production and strong housing activity, demand for commercial vehicles is also on the upswing.

ACT’s State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 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 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, while Class 8 is segmented by trucks and tractors with and without sleeper cabs. This report includes a six-month industry build plan, 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.

“Despite the economy still operating well-below pre-pandemic levels, freight rates are soaring,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst. He added, “It is fascinating that the economy can contract 9.5% in Q2 and there is an almost-immediate trucking capacity shortage pushing spot freight rates to a two-year high. At the heart of this paradoxical situation is driver capacity. The economic downturn in April was so sharp that drivers were furloughed in droves as trucks were parked.”

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By commercial vehicle segment, Vieth commented, “The rebound in carriers’ fortunes has been a positive for the front-end of the demand spectrum. Supported by strong US tractor demand, NA Class 8 net orders rose to a nine-month high in July. The medium-duty market did not swoon as sharply through the shutdown, leaving less pent-up energy to the upside. While MD orders were down from June, seasonal adjustment lifts them to a five-month high.”

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.

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