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Trucks.com | After Tough 2016, Heavy-Duty Truck Orders Rise in January

02.07.17 | Jerry Hirsch, Trucks.com

After a dismal 2016, the heavy-duty truck business looks to be picking up.

Analysis of January sales by two different trucking industry research firms found that orders last month were unexpectedly strong.

North American Orders for trucks in the heaviest Class 8 segment reach 21,600 vehicles, a 20 percent increase compared with the same month a year earlier, FTR Transportation Intelligence said Friday.

The firm said the level of orders demonstrated a consistent trend and showed that the market righted itself at the end of last year.

The pace of big trucks orders over the past three months represent an annual equivalent of 248,000 units. Class 8 truck sales in the U.S. and Canada fell to 216,000 last year after reaching 278,000 in the prior year.

“It is unusual for January orders to be higher than any of the preceding [fourth quarter] months,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR. “This indicates fleets are more confident in market conditions than they were four months ago.”

Truck makers, which laid off thousands of workers in the U.S. last year as they cut production to match the sagging demand, will now “begin to fill in their production schedules,” Ake said.

February builds also look to be much stronger than in previous months, he said.

Manufacturers also are expressing optimism that the market is turning up.

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