The order backlog reached an estimated 205,000 units at the end of April, according to preliminary estimates released last week by transportation analysis firm ACT Research. The backlog has more than doubled since last September, when the order book sat at roughly 94,400 units, thanks to strong freight demand and a cash windfall for fleet owners under the new tax law.
ACT analyst Kenny Vieth said the backlog is the biggest since May 2006, during the strongest production year ever in the North American heavy-truck market.
North American fleets ordered a seasonally-adjusted 35,200 new heavy-duty trucks in April, according to ACT estimates. That was up 45 percent from the same month last year. But April orders declined from March, when fleets ordered a seasonally-adjusted 43,400 heavy-duty vehicles.
March was the third straight month of more than 40,000 orders for the Class 8 trucks, which haul goods on long-distance routes. Vieth said the slowdown from March to April was expected after such a strong first quarter.
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