Class 8 backlog expectedly declines to seasonal norm in June

Class 8 backlog expectedly declined 175,200 units in June 2023. (Graph: ACT Research)

With seasonally weak orders running into strong production, a trend that falls in line with industry expectations, Class 8 backlog declined in June by 14,000 units month over month.

According to ACT Research’s latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 report, the current backlog cume stands at 175,200 units; because 164,000 units are scheduled for production in 2H’23, just 11,000 units of last month’s backlog is sitting in 2024.

The June backlog-to-build ratio also fell by 80 bps month over month to 5.9 months (6.6 seasonally adjusted).

“Coupling the annual seasonally weak period of orders (typically April through August) and healthy supply chains enabling elevated production, the Class 8 backlog will be on a downward trajectory until 2024 orderboards open,” ACT President and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth said. “Traditionally, those out-year orderboards open in October, but in recent cycles, we have seen them open as early as August.”

Class 8 build rate reached 1406 units per day in June, which became the ninth month in the past 10 to feature a build rate north of 1300 in build rate.

Year over year, June Class 8 orders were up 9% with a final tally of 16,773 (approximately 20,300 orders, seasonally adjusted).

“Meanwhile, end market demand in recent months has favored trucks over tractors,” Vieth said. “Tractor orders declined 1% year over year in June while truck orders rose 28% year over year. Truck orders are experiencing strong tailwinds from federal legislation and manufacturing reshoring, which are boosting construction spending and spurring demand for vocational equipment.”

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