A preliminary reading of heavy-duty Class 8 commercial vehicles net orders for North American markets rose to 29,200 units in March 2011, according to ACT Research Co. Net orders in March were up 159% from March 2010 and represented the largest monthly order intake since May 2006. Preliminary net order numbers are subject to revision and are typically accurate to within 5% plus or minus.
“March finished off a second consecutive quarter of elevated Class 8 demand. Orders were booked in excess of a 300,000 unit annualized rate from October to March. Industry backlogs, which fell just short of 100,000 units in February, likely rose by another 8,000 to 10,000 units in March,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst. “With the uptrend firmly established, the question for 2011 is now the industry’s ability to meet demand, instead of whether demand would rise to expectations. History shows that production always chases demand at the beginning of the cycle. Unlike orders, the industry needs to work in unison to raise production.”