Heavy-Duty Truck Demand Muted In May, Says ACT

The summer doldrums appear to have arrived early for the heavy- and medium-duty truck markets, according to information from ACT Research, the Indiana-based analyst of the commercial vehicle markets in North America and China.

For the month of May, 31,400 new Class 5 through Class 8 preliminary vehicle orders were booked, ACT said. Class 8 garnered 14,300 orders and for Classes 5 through 7, 17,100 orders were placed. Final May numbers will be published in mid-June.

“Three consecutive months of decidedly lower net orders for heavy duty commercial vehicles appear more closely aligned with current activity in the manufacturing and energy sectors of the broader economy,” said Steve Tam, ACT’s vice president-Commercial Vehicle Sector. “While metrics in these segments are improving, they can best be described as not being as bad as they were previously.

“Framed by the ongoing overcapacity narrative — too many trucks chasing too little freight — and resultant weak freight rate environment, along with continued softness in late-model used tractor values, May’s Class 8 net orders fell 31% against a moderately tough May 2015 comparison to 14,300 units. Positively, May’s orders, true to season expectations, bested April, coming in 4% higher.”

Orders for medium-duty vehicles slowed to their lowest level since July 2014. Despite the decline, (-14% m/m and -18% y/y), intake remained 4% higher on a ytd basis, at 17,100 units. May’s lower intake was anticipated and portends an expected lower absolute level of activity in the near term.


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