Preliminary North American Class 8 net orders in May were 14,000 units, while Classes 5-7 net orders moderated to 17,000 units. Complete industry data for May, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-June.
“We are coming to that time of year when orders tend to be seasonally weak, as OEMs typically have yet to open their forward-year build schedules, as is currently the case for 2023,” said Eric Crawford, vice president and senior analyst, ACT Research. He added, “Thus, May’s sequential decline in Class 8 orders from April actually reflects some mild improvement on a seasonally adjusted basis. So despite broader macro uncertainty about Russia/Ukraine, interest rates, and potential recession, the prevailing theme in trucks is largely unchanged: long backlogs and supply-chain constrained production continue to keep new orders trending within a narrow range.
“With Class 8 backlogs stretching through 2022 and still no clear visibility on the easing of the all-things shortage,” Crawford continued, “May’s net orders reflect a mild upside surprise, albeit one still in line with the ongoing conservative approach by OEMs looking to limit the risk of overbooking and underbuilding that plagued the industry in 2021.”
About medium-duty, he said, “May’s order moderation for Classes 5-7 follows this segment’s near all-time backlog levels in April.”
ACT’s State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales, and general state of the on-road heavy and medium duty commercial vehicle markets in North America. It differentiates market indicators by Class 5, Classes 6-7 chassis and Class 8 trucks and tractors, detailing activity-related measures such as backlog, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and retail sales. Additionally, Class 5 and Classes 6-7 are segmented by trucks, buses, RVs, and step van configurations. The Class 8 market is segmented into trucks and tractors, with and without sleeper cabs. The report includes a six-month industry build plan, a backlog timing analysis, historical data from 1996 to the present in spreadsheet format, and a ready-to-use graph package. A first-look at preliminary net orders is also published in conjunction with this report.