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ACT Research: NA Classes 5-8 Vehicles at Six-Month High

August 05, 2020, 07:15 AM
Filed Under: Trucking

Preliminary NA Class 8 net orders in July were 20,300 units, rising 27 percent from June, and up 98 percent from a very easy year-ago comparison. The NA Classes 5-7 market saw orders slip to 16,700 units, down 6 percent month-over-month and 3 percent below their year-ago July volume. Complete industry data for July, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-August.

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.

“Preliminary data show that July orders for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles jumped to a six-month high,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. “Less than a week ago, we learned that the U.S. economy was 9.5 percent smaller in Q2 than it was in Q1 and 10.6 percent below its end of 2019 level.”

Vieth further explained, “Additionally, when the COVID began to bite in late February, there was a strong case to be made that the trucking industry was suffering from lingering overcapacity that was still putting downward pressure on freight rates, and by extension, carrier profitability.”

Relating these facts to the North American heavy-duty market, Vieth said, “The context of rising rates and improving carrier profits adds perspective to what is now occurring in Class 8 orders: Supply matters. With many drivers (and trucks) sidelined, there is now insufficient available capacity for rebounding freight volumes. There is a strong relationship historically between carrier profits and equipment demand.”

Regarding the medium-duty market, Vieth commented, “Unlike Class 8, the medium-duty market did not swoon sharply through the worst of the shutdown. And, while orders were down on a nominal basis, seasonal adjustment boosts July’s Classes 5-7 orders to a five-month high.”

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