North American Class 8 orders rose to their second-best ever level in January, reaching 49,100-plus units, and tipping the scales with a y/y growth of 121%, according to ACT Research (ACT).
Since October 2017, NA Class 8 net orders have been booked at a 399,000-unit SAAR.
“The only month in history better than January was a 52k unit order explosion in March 2006, at the peak of the pre-buying frenzy ahead of EPA’07,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst.
As has been the case since orders went vertical in October, US tractors remain the primary driver of outsized order strength, rising 189% y/y in January.
“And after a couple months hiatus, orders from Canada were broadly strong in January, up 259% y/y,” Vieth said.
He explained that drivers of the current order onslaught are broad-based, with supply-side, demand-side, and exogenous factors all contributing to Class 8 order activity.
Regarding the medium-duty markets, Vieth commented, “The medium-duty market experienced a high-side breakout of its own in January, with NA net orders rising to their highest level since mid-2006, up 39% y/y, and all the month’s strength derived from the truck market.”
He gave several possible explanations for the order strength, including operators ordering in anticipation of a tax windfall and dealers adding inventory in expectation of windfall purchasing.