FTR reports that preliminary North American Class 8 net orders fell in April for the sixth time in the last seven months, coming in at 12,050 units. Order activity was down 37% month-over-month and 20% year-over-year. Class 8 orders have totaled 298,500 for the previous 12 months.
FTR says that the weak order level in April is not a major surprise, although it is happening earlier in the year than typically expected. The slowdown in orders is not a direct indication of the level of demand but rather is because build slots are filled for 2023. Reduced order levels will continue through the seasonally weak summer order period.
“When 2024 order boards open later this year, we anticipate some modest additional strength in order activity. There still are indications that fleets are requesting equipment, and there has been no notable uptick in cancellations,” said Eric Starks, chairman of the board at FTR. “Once we see the full data mid-month we will have a better grasp on any changes in cancellation behavior.
“With build strong over the last several months, backlogs will have come down during April,” Starks added. “The incoming order rate for March was 145,000 annualized, which is on par with the weak order levels during the summer of 2022. Despite the weakness, we do not anticipate much, if any, negative impact on production levels over the next few quarters.”