Class 8 orders see seasonal tumble in March

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Updated Apr 4, 2024
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Class 8 truck orders fell substantially in March after two steady months to the start the year, industry firms reported Tuesday.

FTR released its preliminary Class 8 order total of 18,200 units in March, down 34% month over month and 4% behind 2023. ACT Research was lower at 17,300 units, down more than 10,000 units from February and 8.7% from its March 2023 data. Overall, FTR reports Class 8 orders have totaled 264,800 units in the last 12 months.

Despite the downswing, FTR reports March orders are consistent with recent demand trends and in line with seasonal expectations. The company says after maintaining an average level of around 27,000 units for the last three months, orders appear to be slowing at a seasonally typical rate.

“Despite weakness in the freight markets that has persisted for more than a year, fleets continue to be willing to order new equipment,” says FTR Chairman Eric Starks. “Order levels in March were below the historical average but remained in line with seasonal trends. Demand is not declining rapidly, but neither is the market doing significantly better than replacement level demand. Our expectation for replacement output by the end of this year is unchanged.”

[RELATED: Current market softening expected to be short lived]

“Nascent improvements in the freight market and select OEMs’ efforts to smooth demand, notwithstanding forced conservatism among a portion of the truck buying populace, capped Class 8 order activity in March,” adds Steve Tam, ACT vice president. “While we will have to wait for the details of the month’s order volumes, logic suggests waning demand for tractors in the market retrenched in March.”

FTR also noted build slots continue to be filled at a healthy rate, yet ACT reported its seasonally adjusted total of 17,100 units marks the first month since May 2023 for seasonally adjusted activity below 20,000 units.

ACT Research March 2024 truck orders

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