Preliminary North American Class 8 net trucking orders, for the month of May, saw a decent rebound, according to recent data respectively issued by freight transportation consultancy FTR and ACT Research, a provider of data and analysis for trucks and other commercial vehicles.
FTR reported that May preliminary orders—at 13,600 units—beat expectations, as orders had seen declines in six out of seven months through May, rising 9%, from April to May. The firm said that this tally was in line annually, with May orders off 2% compared to May 2022. What’s more, even though FTR observed that May came in above expectations, the level of order activity remained below replacement demand levels, adding that total Class 8 orders over the past 12 months through May came in at 298,700 units.
“With essentially all the build slots accounted for in 2023 and 2024 slots not yet open, a low level of activity in orders was no surprise,” said Eric Starks, chairman of the board, in a statement. “In fact, there was an expectation that the number could move below 10,000 units. Sub-10,000-unit order months are still possible over the summer. No surge in order activity would be expected until the OEMs open build slots for 2024, which would likely be August at the earliest. Fleet demand for equipment does not appear to be waning as they still want to take delivery of new equipment. Strong backlogs are keeping build demand strong, and FTR doesn’t anticipate any negative impact on build activity due to the recent order activity.”
ACT data: ACT reported that preliminary North American Class 8 May orders—at 15,500 units—was up 10% annually and rose 29%, from April to May.
“Given robust Class 8 orders into year end and the ensuing backlog support, coupled with normal seasonal order patterns, orders were expected to moderate into Q2 and remain at relatively soft levels into mid-Q3’23. May orders were in line with this view,” said Eric Crawford, ACT Vice President and Senior Analyst, in a statement. “The relatively few build slots still free in 2H’23 suggest order intake is unlikely to find meaningful traction in the coming months.”