Researchers say truck sales strong last quarter

Orders for Class 8 trucks in December topped 40,000 for the third consecutive month, according to preliminary numbers released this week, pushing 2014’s to its highest since 2004 and its second highest on the books.

FTR reported that December Class 8 orders totaled 43,620 and 2014 orders hit 375,000. The strong fourth quarter was also a record high, topped only by the first quarter in 2006, FTR notes.

ACT Research, likewise, pegs December’s number at 43,900, and the firm reports 2014 totals at 380,000.

ACT says better economic conditions for carriers spurred the year’s strong growth.

“As has been the case throughout 2014, the strength in order activity is symptomatic of converging trends that are favorable to demand, including stronger economic activity, lingering pent-up demand, sizeable fuel economy gains, and rising carrier profitability,” said ACT’s Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst.

FTR’s Don Ake says 2015 also is shaping up to be a banner year for Class 8 sales.

“Reports are that more than 75 percent of the larger fleets have their 2015 orders booked.  One OEM reportedly has lead times for volume orders out to July,” Ake says. “With build slots at a premium, fleets have accelerated orders for 2015 requirements to reserve their places for future deliveries.  Some of these orders will inevitably be moved out or even cancelled, but for now the industry is very bullish on the 2015 truck market.”