Class 8 booked 18,247 net orders in January, down 48% year over year, while Classes 5-7 net orders were flat year over year at 17,400 units, according the latest State of the Industry report by ACT Research Co. (ACT).
“The data stream continues to trend negatively in regard to freight, capacity, and freight rates,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Class 8 demand started softening in mid-year 2015. However, the industry starts 2016 with the second largest January backlog in the past 10 years and the fourth biggest in the past 15.”
Vieth said that in spite of the large backlogs, production rates of Class 8 commercial vehicle are likely to moderate in coming months as the industry works through excessive inventories.
“Meanwhile, medium duty is well positioned for continued modest growth into 2016,” said Vieth. He attributed this to healthy consumer balance sheets, rising new home construction, improved state and local government budgets, and an absence of overbuying.