February was another strong month for Class 8 truck orders, coming in at about 31,000 units according to preliminary data from FTR.
February order activity was 12% below January’s numbers but at a more reasonable, seasonal level than in the past four months. It still marked the strongest February since 2006 and was up 7% compared to last February. Orders have totaled 378,000 units over the past 12 months.
“Orders were spot on our expectations of 31,000. The market has calmed down but is still operating at a very healthy level,” said Don Ake, vice-president of commercial vehicles for FTR. “The economy and freight demand is more predictable, so orders should follow their cyclical trends for the next few months. However, it will be important to see how these orders are distributed throughout the year. There are still build slots that need to be filled in the first half of the year, in order to keep build rates up. January orders were skewed for more deliveries in the second half of the year. It will be interesting if this ‘speculative’ order pattern repeats in February.”
Classes 5-8 truck orders totaled 51,400 units, up 6% compared to last February, reported ACT Research.
“The run of excellent new Class 8 order activity continued into February as 31,200 NA net orders were booked,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Up 7% compared to last year, February’s orders marked the 25th consecutive month of year-over-year gains in net orders. While February’s order volume qualifies as the weakest month in the past five, on a seasonally adjusted basis it also represents the ninth consecutive month of orders over 28,000 units (336k AR). However, there is a recognition that with the 2015 build schedule filling rapidly, it is unlikely that this string of excellence will remain unscathed by the time we get to late Q2,” he added.