November’s strong Class 8 orders reported earlier this month boosted backlogs by 10,100 units to 115,200 units. Rising orders in recent months have generated more work for the industry.
“Coupled with a modestly slower per-day build rate in November, the Class 8 backlog rose an additional 11 days, to 102 days,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research president and senior analyst. “On a monthly basis, the backlog is 4.9 months, up 110bps since September.”
There was also positive movement on the inventory front as November marked the first time since January when inventories contracted. “This is the time of year when fewer production days and tax-related year-end buying help alleviate the inventory building that has occurred through the year,” Vieth said. “That process started in November, with Class 8 inventory falling nearly 600 units. Slightly lower inventories and a slightly higher sales rate did little to reduce the inventory/retail sales ratio, which fell by one day, to 2.5 months/53 days.”