ACT Research numbers: Heavy-duty down, medium-duty up

ACT Research numbers: Heavy-duty down, medium-duty up

ACT says after a year of unexpected growth, March orders may finally indicate a slowdown in capacity additions.

According to the latest numbers from ACT Research, final March Class 8 net orders totaled 17,410 units (17.2k seasonally adjusted), down 8.4% year-over-year. Total Classes 5-7 orders rose 23% y/y to 25,359 units (23.4k seasonally adjusted).

“March orders may finally indicate a slowdown in capacity additions, a requisite for the freight market to turn, after a year of growth that defied typical fundamentals. Though we note, Q2 and Q3 are the weakest points in the calendar for orders, so the call is not prescient,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “U.S. tractor orders totaled 10,400 units, down 1.3% y/y. In the vocational market, total NA Class 8 truck orders fell 2.0% y/y to 5,300 units.”

ACT-inventory-retail-march-2024-orders

“Between strong production and softening US tractor sales the past six months, Class 8 inventories have risen substantively. Since last September, Class 8 inventories have risen nearly 15,000 units, hitting another four-year high in March,” Vieth continued. “Class 8 build totaled 29,854 units in March, down 5.0% y/y, but due to Easter, had three less production days this year. Total Class 8 retail sales were 25,942 units, down 13% y/y.

“Classes 5-7 inventories remained highly elevated in March, as medium-duty bodybuilder labor and supply-chain challenges persist,” he said. “Inventory totaled 89,360 units on a nominal basis, up 22% y/y. Retail sales remained healthy at 20,320 units.”

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