OEMs Whittle Class 8 Order Backlog

Getting a new truck got somewhat easier as orders in June were soft, while production is high, which helped cut into the longstanding orders backlog.

As reported by Truck News, preliminary data from FTR reflected 13,800 orders, while ACT Research reported 16,200. FTR’s numbers put June order activity as flat, and down 7% compared to last June.

That is below replacement demand, FTR says.

“FTR has been anticipating net Class 8 orders to drop over the last several months to below 10,000 units. This has not occurred, which is a positive sign that fleets still need equipment,” said FTR chairman Eric Starks.

“However, with all the order slots filled for 2023 and 2024 slots yet to be fully opened, it is unclear when these ordered trucks will be built. OEMs have hinted for months that they are willing to keep build activity elevated well into Q4. With the recent solid order totals, it is all but guaranteed that Q4 production will be strong. OEM build slots for 2024 are not expected to open until August at the earliest.”

Weaker orders combined with elevated build rates mean the backlog is being whittled away.

“This will pull backlogs back into a normal range over the next several months as the backlog-to-build ratio is currently elevated and putting pressure on OEMs to keep building equipment,” Starks said.

ACT Research’s preliminary numbers fell in line with expectations.

“Given robust Class 8 orders into year-end 2022 and the ensuing backlog support, coupled with normal seasonal order patterns, orders were expected to moderate into Q2 and remain at relatively soft levels into mid-Q3 2023,” said Eric Crawford, vice-president and senior analyst.

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