Class 8 new and net orders in March of 22,038 and 20,025 units, respectively, were the lowest order volume since last July, according to ACT Research Co. (ACT).

This updated status of the North America commercial vehicle market was included in the State of the Industry report, recently released by ACT. The report covers Class 5 through 8 vehicles for the North American market.

“Class 8 demand, as expressed by incoming orders in February and March, has hit a soft patch,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT. “There was a tax-driven pre-buy at the end of 2011, and dealers added larger than seasonal stocks in Q1 ahead of rising model year ’13 new truck prices.

“For a lot of truckers, the gap between new and used prices remains particularly large. Given all of the above, plus rising diesel prices through Q1, it is not too hard to see why the industry has softened. However, we think a continuation of reasonable freight growth, strong trucker profits, and healthy used truck prices will push demand higher once the current period of uncertainty is worked through.”

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