Classes 5-8 Production Exceeds Build Plans in March as Interest Rates Increase

According to ACT Research’s latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 report, the trucking industry demand was quite healthy in March, despite the turmoil experienced in the banking sector and yet another interest rate increase. Pent-up demand remains resilient and cancellations continue at miniscule levels for both heavy duty (HD) and medium duty (MD). Curbing the enthusiasm somewhat, HD and MD orders declined double digits year-over-year.

“As supply conditions have slowly improved, so has output. Supporting this trend, March HD and MD production each exceeded build plans,” Eric Crawford, vice president and senior analyst at ACT Research, said. “The Class 8 build rate in March was 1,361 upd, 4.2% above industry build plan, with the industry producing 31,306 units. Classes 5-7 build averaged 1,090 upd, 13% above build plan, with 25,065 units produced.

“Given the relatively weak environment for orders, combined with a relatively healthy supply chain, Class 8 backlog should be on a downward trajectory until 2024 orderboards open. March was no exception, with backlog down 12.5k units m/m to 218.3k.”

“Coupled with March’s stronger build rate, the HD backlog-to-build ratio declined 100 basis points m/m to 7.6 months (8.1 seasonally adjusted),” Crawford said. “Of note, 122.4k units in backlog are scheduled for 2H’23, considerably below the 142.4k units scheduled for 2H’22 this time last year.”

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