Private fleets continue to drive truck orders

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Updated Mar 22, 2024
ACT Research inventory to retail sales ratio

ACT Research announced its final Class 8 truck orders for last month. The company says its February total of 27,745 units was 16% higher year over year. In the Classes 5-7 market, orders were up 8.6% from 2023 to 19,127 units. 

“Given ongoing weak for-hire economics, we believe private fleet capacity additions continue as the driver of U.S. tractor orders above replacement levels,” says Kenny Vieth, ACT president and senior analyst. “U.S. tractor orders totaled 17,213 units, up 32% year over year. The vocational market remains strong, particularly in the U.S., where nearshoring and government programs have spurred investment.”

“Coupling a declining U.S. tractor sales trend in [second half of] 2023, and the seasonally weakest time of the year for Class 8 retail sales in the year’s first trimester, with strong production expectations, conditions were ripe for a large inventory jump in first quarter of 2024,” Vieth adds. “Even as sales have remained at seasonally healthy rates, February production pushed Class 8 inventories to a four-year high of 73,900 units, up 7,705 units or 12% month over month and 24% year over year.”

As for the Classes 5-7 space, Vieth adds medium-duty “inventories remained at highly elevated levels in February, as medium-duty bodybuilder labor challenges persist. Inventories totaled 86,420 units on a nominal basis, up 27% year over year.”

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