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Class 8 orders hit 14-month high in November

Defying sluggish freight market, fleets order replacement equipment at solid pace

Preliminary Class 8 truck orders came in at the best in 14 months in November. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Class 8 truck orders continued to outpace the sluggish freight market with November orders surpassing 40,000. It was the best month since September 2022 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

November preliminary North American Class 8 net orders were 41,700 units, rising by 9,000 units from both October and year-ago November, ACT Research reported.

Even accounting for seasonal adjustment, orders surpassed 40,000 for the first time in more than a year.

“November [was] the best ‘real’ order month since September 2022,” Kenny Vieth, ACT president and senior analyst, said in a news release. “Since the filling of 2024’s orderboards began in earnest in September, Class 8 orders have been booked at a 413,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate.”

‘Solid rather than stellar’ 2024

Rising backlogs of trucks awaiting production suggest a “solid rather than stellar” 2024, he said.

FTR Transportation Intelligence reported lower preliminary orders of 36,750 units, up 32% from October and 2% ahead year over year. Total Class 8 orders for the previous 12 months have equaled 255,500 units.

“Despite prolonged weakness in the overall freight market, fleets continue to be willing to order new equipment,” FTR Chairman Eric Starks said. “Order levels were above the historical average but continue to follow seasonal trends, stabilizing our expectations for replacement demand in 2024.”

The slight year-over-year increase in November orders shows a market that is still performing at a high level historically, Starks said.

“We see a really strong vocational market out there. We see a strong medium-duty market. The LTL market is very strong,” Paccar Inc. CEO Preston Feight said on the company’s third-quarter call with analysts on Oct. 24. “The first quarter looks pretty good.”

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One Comment

  1. James Bauman

    Is this due to next emission tier pre-buy? Due to mandated warranty ; look for cost to go up $10k / unit? I suppose mostly about aged fleets due to Covid supply damage. IMO not a sign of upcoming economy.

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.