Class 8 Truck Orders Surged 45% Y/Y in January

According to final data from ACT Research, January Class 8 truck net orders reached 27,125 units, up 45% year over year. Meanwhile, net orders for Classes 5-7 were up 14% year over year at 19,954 units.

“U.S. Class 8 tractor orders surprised to an above-replacement level of 16,765 units, up 44% [year over year],” Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst of ACT Research, said. “Seasonality is one component, but given the state of for-hire truckload rates, we continue to suspect private fleets as the primary driver behind U.S. tractor demand. As well, the LTL segment remains a bright spot relative to TL and is likely also contributing. The U.S. economy’s current strength doesn’t hurt either.”

Regarding Classes 5-7, Vieth added, “MD build totaled 20,931 units, up 21% [year over year]. Inventories remain highly elevated, as MD bodybuilder labor challenges persist, totaling 85,330 units nominally, up 31% [year over year]. Classes 5-7 retail sales remained strong at 19,950 units.

“Class 8 build decreased 7.3% [year over year] to 26,926 units in January. Class 8 inventories rose 1,909 units [month over month] to 66,277 in January, up 14.3% [year over year]. Following December’s dash to get equipment finished ahead of regulations starting at the beginning of 2024, Class 8 retail sales totaled 24.5K units in January, up 2.9% [year over year]. Amid the weakest period of the year for retail sales, and with still strong production, we continue to see risk in the potential for rapid inventory escalation in early 2024.”

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