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Class 8 Truck Orders Hit Second-Best July Records

COLUMBUS, IN — North American Class 8 truck orders hit the second-best July ever, according to industry data.

July is usually a slow month for truck orders, but demand was higher in July 2014 than expected as North American truckers ordered some 45,400 trucks Classes 5 to 8.

“In July, historically the weakest month for order volumes, North American Class 8 net orders again rose above expectations to a six-month high 29,900 units,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst of ACT Research.

That’s 12 percent higher than June’s truck orders and 70 percent higher than truck orders a year ago in July.

“In addition to a continuation of the ongoing strong order trend, some of the non-seasonal strength in July might be related to the rapidly dwindling supply of available build slots in 2014,” Vieth said.

Research firm FTR backs it up: Class 8 orders have now had 18 consecutive months with year-over-year increases. Truck makers continue to increase build rates in response to solid demand for Class 8 trucks and this level of orders will challenge capacity constraints by year end.

Class 8 orders for the latest six-month period through July annualize to 325,000 units, FTR claims.

“July is typically the weakest month of the year for orders, but the market is actually gaining strength in the summer," said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. "This is the third straight month of order increases. Orders for the last 12 months have been 312,000 units, so production should catch up at some point.”

Medium Duty

As for medium-duty trucks, North American truckers ordered some 15,500 Classes 5 to 7 trucks.

July’s levels were three percent higher month-over-month, but four percent lower than year ago levels, making a third month in a row to have below year-ago reading.

Class 5-7 comparisons look worse than the Class 8 data because medium-duty orders improved earlier in April 2013 and Class 5-7 net orders averaged a healthy 17,300 from April 2013 to November 2013, researchers say.

 
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