Class 8 same-dealer used truck sales rose 37% in October, from the same month in 2016, according to ACT Research. Class 8 trucks are the largest class of big rigs — the tractor of a tractor-trailer.
“Compared to the first 10 months of last year, the year-to-date volume gap widened to 21%,” said Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research. “A look at the individual market segments reveals strong growth in the auction and wholesale segments, while the retail market held steady.” Sales volumes increased 12% from September.
Dealers reported sales have been better than expected, but an oversupply of trucks remains. “Used vocational trucks such as dump trucks and heavy haul tractors, continue to bring a good profit,” Tam said. “These trucks were in short supply before the hurricanes hit and are now needed for both the additional cleanup work and as replacements for the trucks damaged during the storms.”
Meanwhile, North American orders for new Class 8 trucks hit a 35-month high of 36,033 units in October. “Following a high-side breakout in September, Class 8 orders exploded in October as large fleets returned to the U.S. market, and the Canadian market remained red-hot,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst for ACT Research.
Production backlog rose by nearly 11,000 units to 105,200 in October. “Coupled with a modestly slower October build rate, the Class 8 backlog-build ratio jumped to 91 days,” Vieth said. “On a monthly basis, the backlog grew 60 (basis points) to 4.3 months. Despite the improvement, October’s backlog remained low by historical standards.” The build rate is expected to slow to 1,114 units per day in the fourth quarter, down from 1,172 per day in the third quarter.
Also in October, order of trailers rose 50% to 32,000 units, from the same month in 2016. “The federal appeals court ruling on GHG-2 regulations, although occurring late in the month, likely alleviated some new year market uncertainty and could have helped finalize some fleet investment decisions as the month closed,” said Frank Maly, director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research for ACT. Through the first 10 months of the year, trailer orders have risen nearly 45% to 226,000 units, from the same period in 2016. “At October’s build rate, the current orderboard would take the industry through most of next year’s first quarter.”