The softness in the North American commercial vehicle market, particularly in Class 8 trucks, was the story in April, according to ACT Research, the Indiana-based publisher of commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and Chinese markets.
For the month of April, 33,800 orders for new Class 5 through Class 8 vehicle orders were booked with Class 8 garnering 13,700 orders and Class 5 through Class 7 totaling 20,100 orders.
“Despite increasingly easy year-over-year comparisons, demand for Class 8 vehicles continued to lose traction in April, with orders slipping 39% year over year and 16% sequentially,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. Vieth said the drivers of soft Class 8 demand remain intact from previous months — “an ongoing overcapacity narrative, a resulting weak freight rate environment, softness in late-model used truck values and excessive new vehicle stocks.”
“The healthy medium duty order trend, which began in September 2015, continued in April, although at a modestly reduced rate,” Vieth said. “Orders fell 10% sequentially from one of the best order months experienced cycle-to-date, but were up 12% compared to year-ago April orders.”
Vieth said that medium duty demand was bolstered by a decent jobs market and rising incomes, which support discretionary spending and improved housing and automotive sales activity.