Net orders of Class 5-7 commercial vehicles are expected at 17,800 units when real data is released later this month, signaling continued strength of the school bus market, a leading vehicle analyst told STN.
ACT Research released initial figures accounts last week with a confidence quotient of plus/minus 5 percent, and reported that Class 8 net orders are expected at 24,400 units. Steve Tam, vice president of ACT's commercial vehicle sector said 95 percent of the Class5-7 vehicles are school buses or commercial (non-yellow) buses.
He added that nearly 35,000 Class 5-7 vehicles have been ordered over the past 12 months, the highest 12-month, monthly average since the third quarter of 2009 and, before that the second quarter of 2007.
"Bottom line, bus demand is making a nice resurgence as property values increase, resulting in higher property tax revenues," he said.
While ranking as only the sixth best order month in the past seven, ACT said the total North American Class 5-8 orders of 42,200 units in April were also the 10th best order month of the past eight years.
"Since demand ramped up at the beginning of Q4'13, total Classes 5-8 net orders have been booked at a 545,300 unit annual rate (499,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate)," said Kenny Vieth, ACT's president and senior analyst.
He said April's Class 8 orders represented the lowest intake since November,were down 11 percent from March and increased by just 5 percent compared to a year-ago.
"That single-digit, year-over-year gain was just the second in 14 months of strong double-digit gains," he said.
Meanwhile, Vieth pointed out that Classes 5-7 rose 5 percent from April 2013, but fell 2 percent from February.
"Consistency continues to be a part of the MD vehicle order story: Over the past three, six and 12 months, orders have been booked at a 219,000 SAAR, a 209,000 SAAR and 209,000 units, respectively," added Vieth.