Class 8 orders lower in April in expected drop

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Updated May 6, 2024
NA Class 8 Net Orders from ACT

ACT Research announced Friday that April preliminary Class 8 numbers for North America were down 1,800 units, but still 30% higher than a year ago. FTR says Class 8 net orders were down 28% month-over-month, but still up 12.5% year-over-year. The companies pegged the month at 15,600 units and 14,000 units, respectively.

[RELATED: Softening Class 8 market weakened truck sales in Q1]

"Even in good years, Q2 typically delivers below-trend orders, while Q4 orders can trigger optimism at the bottom of the cycle," says Ken Vieth, ACT Research president and senior analyst. "With the long bottom in freight volumes and rates continuing in the most recent data from DAT amid lingering market overcapacity carrier profitability as illustrated by the publicly traded for-hire carriers' financial performance was dismal in Q1. Entering the historically worst time of the year for orders, at the bottom of an on-highway tractor buyers' profitability cycle, is producing results in line with expectations." 

FTR says Class 8 orders for the past 12 months totaled 267,700 units. 

“Despite the month-over-month decline, the fact that orders were up significantly from the April 2023 level that indicates is still solid,” says Dan Moyer, senior analyst, commercial vehicles. “The persistent stagnation in the freight markets has not deterred fleets from being willing to order new equipment. Order levels were below the historical average but remain in line with seasonal trends, and we still expect a replacement level of output by the end of 2024.”

ACT says with April’s seasonal factor being positive, the month’s intake is boosted to 16,600 units. Demand in the near-term is decelerating, but FTR says it’s not rapid, with the market performing slightly above replacement-level orders. OEMs are filling build slots at a healthy rate, FTR says, and most OEMs saw declining orders. 

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