Class 8 orders rebounded in August

There has been some bounce on Class 8 orders as of last month. According to ACT Research, as reported by Truck News, it bounced by about 21,600 units. They also reported that ACT VP and Senior Analyst Eric Crawford said, “Last month, we sounded a note of caution, with the caveat that there were a number of mitigating factors [extended backlogs, order seasonality, and still-closed 2023 order boards] that prevented us from extrapolating too much from July’s weak orders. Despite increased economic uncertainty, carrier profitability and unmet demand continue to support activity.”

Orders for Classes 5-7 totaled 18,400 units. When complete August data is released, ACT expects both Class 8 and Class 5-7 backlogs to shrink. As OEMs began to fill build slots for the first quarter of 2023, preliminary North American Class 8 net orders for August increased 98% over July to 21,400 units. However, caution is still advised to avoid a repeat of late-2021 cancellations caused by overbooking colliding with supply shortages.

“OEMs felt the need to start filling in their Q1 production schedules for their prime customers,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “The supply chain is still clogged, so they still are unable to book all the commitments they still have.” The demand earlier this month was at 80,000 to 100,000; it may have declined some but is still strong and high. “The industry has responded well to the supply shortages but will need an increase in production in 2023 to begin to balance out,” Ake said. “Some fleets have run their trucks well past their planned replacement cycles and desperately need new trucks.” According to Eric Crawford, vice president, and senior analyst at ACT Research, the Class 8 backlog should fall by around 8,900 units when complete August data is released. This is less than the average decline of 12,400 units in May, June, and July.