Class 8 truck orders fall below '23 level for first time this year

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Class 8 Truck Orders June
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North American Class 8 net orders dipped in June to 14,800 units, according to preliminary data from ACT Research. June order activity was down 37% month-over-month and 12% year-over-year.

FTR Transportation Intelligence data showed that Class 8 preliminary net orders for June at 13,100 units, down 33% month-over-month and 6% year-over-year. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 273,700 units.

Na Class 8 Net OrdersACT Research

June’s orders are lower than normal market results, following a strong five-month period where orders were averaging 25% higher annually, according to FTR.

During the first three months of the year, orders averaged around 18,000 units per month. In the last three months, they have slowed to just under 16,000 units per month, which is a normal seasonal decline. Despite the slowdown, FTR said that production slots for Class 8 trucks are still being filled at a “steady, albeit slowing, pace.”

Looking into June’s decline in orders, FTR said it was in line with seasonal expectations. The year-over-year decrease is the first one to date in 2024, with FTR saying it is “relatively insignificant because it is modest and because of the strong order performance over the previous five months.”

While all OEMs had order decreases, FTR said that its preliminary data shows that vocational market demand dropped more significantly.

The market is still performing at or above replacement levels for incoming orders, said Dan Moyer, senior analyst, commercial vehicles at FTR. “Despite stagnant freight markets, fleets continue to invest in new equipment.”

Moyer added, “Order levels are in line with historical averages and seasonal expectations, and market fundamentals remain little changed based on these preliminary orders.”

[RELATED: Pre-buy and demand for equipment in Mexico likely influenced Class 8 truck orders bump in May]

Even in favorable years, Q2 typically sees below-trend orders, while Q4 orders might spark optimism at the bottom of the cycle, said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.

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Vieth commented that with the current prolonged low freight volumes, suppressed rates and ongoing market overcapacity, for-hire carriers’ financial performance remains poor.

“Entering the historically worst time of the year for orders at the bottom of tractor buyers’ profitability cycle is producing results in line with expectations,” Vieth noted.

Meanwhile, Vieth said the strongest sector in the economy has been consumer services spending, which has helped maintain stable demand for medium-duty trucks. “Reflecting underlying service sector strength, North American Classes 5-7 net orders were 19,000 units in June, down 1.6% month-over-month, but up an in-line 3.3% year-over-year.”

Pamella De Leon is a senior editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. An avid reader and travel enthusiast, she likes hiking, running, and is always on the look out for a good cup of chai. Reach her at [email protected].