Preliminary North American Class 8 net trucking orders, for the month of August, were strong, 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 August preliminary orders—at 15,400 units—saw a 16% increase, from July to August. On an annual basis, though, orders were off 26%, compared to what FTR called an “exceptionally strong” July 2022, which marked the beginning of a run-up in order activity through November 2022 and beyond.
FTR added that August’s level of order activity remains below replacement levels, observing that total Class 8 orders for the previous 12 months equaling 294,000 units.
“As build slots start to open for 2024 production, fleets are starting to place orders on the books,” said Eric Starks, FTR chairman of the board, in a statement. “However, much of the ordering for 2024 has yet to be seen and typically will not show up until September or October. Despite rising order activity, the year-over-year comparisons will look horrible through November due to record order activity in the second half of 2022. The actual unit order levels will be more significant in the near term than the year-over-year change in analyzing the strength of the market. Even though order activity is still below replacement demand, a key takeaway from the August data is that fleets are not shying away from ordering new equipment, which is a good sign for the second half of the year.”
ACT data: ACT reported that preliminary North American Class 8 August orders—at 19,000 units—were off 9% annually, while posting its best month since January, with the firm noting that continued economic strength and seasonal adjustment keeping orders on trend.
“As represented by seasonal factors, the industry remains at that time of the year when expectations for order activity are low, as most of the current year’s orders have been booked and out-year build plans are only starting to open,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst, in a statement. “For Class 8, August is the last month of 'weak order season,' the four-month period that begins in May. Adding to downward pressure, the 2023 build plan has been essentially filled since the end of Q1. Seasonally adjusted, orders were 21,500 units, up 7.1% m/m, the best month since February, and the third consecutive month north of 20,000 units.”