Class 8 truck order rate dipped in April

Net orders for Class 8 trucks fell in April, but it’s debatable whether that reflects poorly on the state of the ongoing recovery of the truck market. While one industry analyst interprets the data as meaning the truck build rate had hit a “soft patch” and another that truck orders are showing a solid downward trend, still another contends the order rate simply “got ahead” of itself.

ACT Research Co. LLC (ACT) related yesterday that net orders for North American Class 6-8 trucks for April were down from the month before. ACT predcited that the final numbers, which will be released in mid-May, will approach 17,200 units for Class 8 trucks and 8,600 for Class 6-7 vehicles.

“Orders continued to come in below the level ultimately needed to sustain current rates of build,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president & senior analyst. “Conditions that contributed to the soft patch that started in March were still in play in April, including higher diesel and new truck prices.

“Beyond that,” he continued, “the data that we use to predict demand remain healthy. The overall economy– and in particular the manufacturing sector– continues to grow, trucker profits are healthy and used-truck prices remain close to record levels.”