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Class 8 truck orders — nowhere to go but down

Solid orders in November but bookings fall after September record

Class 8 orders clocked in at a respectable 33,000 units in November, but still declined for the second straight month after a record September. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Class 8 truck orders posted a respectable 33,000 units in November. But they fell for a second consecutive month after record bookings in September. Supply chain issues, growing backlogs and a slowing economy are likely to prevent big monthly orders in the near term.

Orderbooks are fully open. Pent-up demand for new equipment remains strong. And carrier profitability creates a willingness to spend on equipment, said Eric Crawford, ACT Research vice president and senior analyst.

“We continue to expect a freight recession, and an eventual [mild to medium] economic recession. But OEMs at this point have clear visibility to a strong [first half of 2023] barring any unforeseen cataclysmic events.”

That hedging leaves open the possibility of another month like September when orders reached an ACT-reported 53,700 after months running at half that pace. But with backlogs of unbuilt vehicles rising, a repeat is unlikely.

FTR Transportation Intelligence, an ACT competitor, reported preliminary North American Class 8 net orders at 34,300 in November, well off its September total of 56,000. Even with the moderating intake, November orders rose 254% year over year compared to a period when OEMs were canceling orders because they took in more than they had parts to build. 

Class 8 truck orders appear to be entering a trough after peaking in September. (Source: FTR)

Class 8 orders now total 295,000 on a rolling 12-month basis.

“Much of the year appears to have been slotted for production in 2023,” said Jonathan Starks, FTR chief executive officer and chief intelligence officer. “That means further moderation of levels as we get into the new year.

“The market remains strong despite the economic uncertainties, and production still will be limited to some extent by supply chains and labor.”

Class 8 orders stay strong but the party may end soon

Class 8 truck orders set monthly record in September

Class 8 bookings rebound in August as OEMs crack open orderbooks

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.


  1. R. M Rehmer

    With the market looking very dim in 2023 due to the effects of the Biden administration’s agenda, why in God’s name would you want to go buy a new 2023 truck that has an inflation-driven price on it? The freight and rates outlook will make the final decision for you. A new rig would be nice, but how do you make the payments, I do not know many who could pay the truck price F.E.T. and state sales tax out of their pockets, and if the rates don’t follow your income needs. But the used truck market isn’t any better when fools think they can charge new truck prices for used high-mileage used trucks and find someone stupid enough to pay it. Unless new truck manufacturers do something to give you a big incentive to buy from them, the outcome will be a lot of layoffs at their plants and lots of salespeople with no jobs. This all goes back to the democrat administration, whose job seems to be to destroy America

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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.