ACT Research: January medium and heavy duty net orders are up

Class 8 net orders started 2014 with a high-side surprise, up 9 percent month-over-month and 51 percent year-over-year; Classes 5 through 7 also got off to a good start with orders up 14 percent month-over-month and 33 percent year-over-year. This updated status of the North America commercial vehicle market was included in the State of the Industry report, recently released by ACT Research Co. (ACT). The report covers Classes 5 through 8 vehicles for the North American market.

"While orders were strong, one has to read between the lines to appreciate Class 8 retail sales in January. Thanks to year-ending tax and sales incentives, Class 8 retail sales posted a sharp drop in January from December. But this is the case every year," said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research Co., LLC. "However, applying seasonal adjustment gives a better picture: Adjusted Class 8 sales rose 9 percent month-over-month to a 22-month high. Strong orders pushed backlogs to a 22-month high and the backlog/build ratio jumped to 4.9 months."

"For medium duty, all of January’s sequential order strength and most of the year-over-year improvement came from the heavier end of the market, Classes 6 and 7. Broken down by vehicle type, trucks accounted for virtually all of the sequential order increase," Vieth said.