March Class Truck 8 Net Orders May Finally Indicate Slowing Capacity Additions

Final March Class 8 truck net orders totaled 17,410 units (17,200 seasonally adjusted), down 8.4% year over year, according to ACT Research, while total Classes 5-7 orders rose 23% year over year to 25,359 units (23,400 seasonally adjusted).

“March orders may finally indicate a slowdown in capacity additions, a requisite for the freight market to turn, after a year of growth that defied typical fundamentals. Though we note, Q2 and Q3 are the weakest points in the calendar for orders, so the call is not prescient,” Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst of ACT Research, said. “U.S. tractor orders totaled 10,400 units, down 1.3% year over year. In the vocational market, total NA Class 8 truck orders fell 2.0% year over year to 5,300 units.

“Between strong production and softening U.S. tractor sales the past six months, Class 8 inventories have risen substantively. Since last September, Class 8 inventories have risen nearly 15,000 units, hitting another four-year high in March. Class 8 build totaled 29,854 units in March, down 5.0% year over year, but due to Easter, had three less production days this year. Total Class 8 retail sales were 25,942 units, down 13% year over year.”

“Classes 5-7 inventories remained highly elevated in March, as medium-duty bodybuilder labor and supply-chain challenges persist. Inventory totaled 89,360 units on a nominal basis, up 22% year over year. Retail sales remained healthy at 20,320 units.”

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