ECONOMIC WATCH: Class 8 orders continued climb in August

by Today’s Trucking

September 2, 2020

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Class 8 truck orders continued to climb in August, according to preliminary data from FTR, totaling 20,500 units.

Numbers were up 3% from July and 90% from last August. FTR says orders are being driven by large fleets keeping up with their replacement cycles, with a few orders geared towards expansion. Orders are expected to continue in the 20,000-unit range for the next few months, FTR predicts.

“This is another positive sign for Class 8 trucks – the second consecutive 20,000-unit month and proves that the July total was not a fluke, with a possible trend developing,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice-president, commercial vehicles. “Fleets are more confident, but it still is mostly larger fleets purchasing replacement trucks. Medium-sized and smaller fleets remain cautious about ordering trucks.

“This is an odd situation in that it is a highly uncertain, yet very stable, environment. You have a pandemic, a presidential campaign, and social unrest all occurring at the same time. However, the economy is briskly recovering and generating ample freight. Fleets are ordering only what they need, and thus, orders are aligning very close to production rates. We can expect orders to track in the current range until those risk factors are resolved. Right now, the market is in a holding pattern and may stay there through the rest of the year.”