Truck orders accelerate in November

Dec. 12, 2023
Preliminary data indicate OEMs are filling up their order books heading into 2024, with ACT reporting a 9,000-unit increase from October, and FTR showing a 32% m/m spike

Fleet managers are treating themselves to new tractors this holiday season.

Preliminary data from ACT Research and FTR Transportation Intelligence both spotlight significant month-over-month increases in Class 8 net orders in November, with ACT reporting OEMs logged orders for 9,000 more units than in October, and FTR reporting increases of 32% month-over-month and 2% year-over-year.

Build slots continue to be filled at a healthy rate, FTR added, and the slight year-over-year increase in orders in November shows the market is “performing at a high level historically.”

FTR’s preliminary November total is 36,750 units.

“We also saw a more cohesive market for OEMs vs. October, with the majority seeing increases in orders,” Eric Starks, FTR chairman, said in a news release. “Despite prolonged weakness in the overall freight market, fleets continue to be willing to order new equipment. Order levels were above the historical average but continue to follow seasonal trends, stabilizing our expectations for replacement demand in 2024.”

FTR reports fleets ordered 255,500 units over the past 12 months.

ACT’s November total soared to 41,700 Class 8 tractors. The firm said year-over-year orders also increased by 9,000 units from November 2022.

“November Class 8 net orders were the highest monthly intake since October 2022,” Kenny Vieth, ACT president and senior analyst, maintained. “A modest seasonal factor presses down gently this month, with seasonal adjustment dropping November’s SA intake to 40,100 units, making November the best ‘real’ order month since September 2022.

“Since the filling of 2024’s order boards began in earnest in September, Class 8 orders have been booked at a 413,000 [seasonally adjusted annual rate].”

However, Vieth cautioned, “Even though backlogs, in seasonal fashion, are rising, they continue to point to a different market vibe heading into 2024: Still good, for sure, but solid, rather than stellar.”

Regarding medium duty orders, he added: “Class 5-7 net orders rose 4.2% from October and 1.9% year-over-year to 22,500 units. Class 5-7 net orders are typically more trend-like in their trajectory, and that pattern was on exhibit again in November.”

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