According to a preliminary data in a recent ACT Research report, North American Class 8 net orders in July were 11,400 units, while Classes 5-7 net orders were 13,500 units. Complete industry data for July, including final order numbers, will be published in mid-August.
“Do we think July’s weak orders represent the end of healthy demand? Perhaps,” Eric Crawford, vice president and senior analyst at ACT Research, said. “Recent spot rate weakness, and our expectation that a freight recession is inbound, would suggest yes. That said, considering 1) Class 8 backlogs stretch into 2023, 2) ongoing supply-chain issues, albeit easing somewhat, and 3) inflationary cost pressures, leave the OEMs in no rush to open order boards for 2023. In light of this confluence of factors, plus typically challenged seasonality in Q3, we hesitate to extrapolate too much from a datapoint that could prove to be an outlier. To be sure, though, it is a datapoint that warrants increased vigilance going forward.
“Per the backlog analysis and OEM build plans in ACT’s July State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Vehicles report, the 2022 backlog was oversubscribed, with 39K more orders scheduled to be built than build slots available at the end of June, and June cancellations were negligible. July demand for medium-duty vehicles was similarly challenged, representing the lowest seasonally adjusted total since the pandemic, likely, at least in part, evidence of the shift in consumer spending from goods to services.”
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