February 5, 2018 / 3:44 PM / 15 days ago

North American January semi-truck orders highest since 2006

DETROIT (Reuters) - North American orders for Class 8 semi-trucks more than doubled in January and hit their highest level since 2006, FTR, a company that tracks the industry, said on Monday.

Tight capacity in the road freight market should continue to fuel strong truck orders through at least the spring, FTR said.

Preliminary orders in the United States, Canada and Mexico for the big rigs that haul freight along North American highways hit 47,200, up significantly from 21,863 in January 2017, according to FTR.

“These levels were well above our already strong expectations and continue to indicate that the equipment markets are still reacting to the tight capacity in the truck marketplace,” Jonathan Starks, FTR’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

This came after orders in December jumped 77 percent compared with the same period in 2016, for a 77 percent full-year surge in truck sales in 2017.

Full-year 2017 orders for Class 8 trucks came in at 290,000 units, FTR said, compared with the 164,000 big rigs that truck companies ordered in 2016. The United States is by far the largest market in North America.

    January was the fourth consecutive month truck orders have passed the 30,000 mark.

    “Near-record levels can’t last for long, but orders could stay quite elevated throughout the spring,” Starks said.​

    The main truck makers in the U.S. market are Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE), Navistar International Corp (NAV.N), PACCAR Inc (PCAR.O) and Volvo AB (VOLVb.ST).

    Reporting by Nick Careyediting by Jonathan Oatis

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