FTR Reports Preliminary North American Class 8 Net Orders for August Continue to Climb - Reaching 20,500 Units

August order activity was very consistent with July, up 3% m/m, and up 90% y/y. Class 8 net orders for the last 12 months now total 177,000 units.

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Large fleets continue to buy new trucks according to their replacement cycles, with a few orders going towards expansion purposes. Orders are expected to stay in the 20,000 range for the next few months with buyer confidence increasing as the economy recovers and freight volumes rise. There is less uncertainty regarding the pandemic as businesses and consumers adapt to the current environment.

Don Ake, FTR vice president commercial vehicles comments, “This is another positive sign for Class 8 trucks – the second consecutive 20,000-unit month and proves that the July total was not a fluke, with a possible trend developing. Fleets are more confident, but it still is mostly larger fleets purchasing replacement trucks. Medium-sized and smaller fleets remain cautious about ordering trucks.

“This is an odd situation in that it is a highly uncertain, yet very stable, environment," says Ake. "You have a pandemic, a presidential campaign, and social unrest all occurring at the same time. However, the economy is briskly recovering and generating ample freight. Fleets are ordering only what they need, and thus, orders are aligning very close to production rates.

“We can expect orders to track in the current range until those risk factors are resolved. Right now, the market is in a holding pattern and may stay there through the rest of the year.”  he adds.