The 13,800 Class 8 trucks fleets ordered in June, according to preliminary data released by FTR, beat analysts' expectations. However, the current level of order activity continues to be below replacement demand.
June's order intake was flat versus May and down 7% year-over-year. Total Class 8 orders for the previous 12 months have equaled 297,800 units.
FTR has been anticipating net Class 8 orders to drop over the last several months to below 10,000 units, but that's not yet happened – "a positive sign that fleets still need equipment," said FTR Chairman Eric Starks.
With all the order slots filled for 2023, and 2024 slots yet to be fully opened, it is unclear when these ordered trucks will be built.
“The relatively few build slots still free in 2H’23 suggest order intake is unlikely to find meaningful traction until 2024 order boards open," said ACT Research Vice President and Senior Analyst Eric Crawford.
OEMs have hinted for months that they are willing to keep build activity elevated well into Q4, Starks said, and with the recent solid order totals it is all but guaranteed that Q4 production will be strong. OEM build slots for 2024 are not expected to open until August at the earliest.
“The normally weaker orders due to a seasonal mid-year slowdown coupled with strong build activity will keep shrinking backlogs,” Starks added. “This will pull backlogs back into a normal range over the next several months as the backlog-to-build ratio is currently elevated and putting pressure on OEMs to keep building equipment.”