Preliminary NA Class 8 net orders in March were 21,300 units, while NA Classes 5-7 net orders rose to 21,200 units. Complete industry data for March, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-April.
ACT’s State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales, and general state of the on-road heavy and medium duty commercial vehicle markets in North America. It differentiates market indicators by Class 5, Classes 6-7 chassis and Class 8 trucks and tractors, detailing activity-related measures such as backlog, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and retail sales. Additionally, Class 5 and Classes 6-7 are segmented by trucks, buses, RVs, and step van configurations. The Class 8 market is segmented into trucks and tractors, with and without sleeper cabs. The report includes a six-month industry build plan, a backlog timing analysis, historical data from 1996 to the present in spreadsheet format, and a ready-to-use graph package. A first-look at preliminary net orders is also published in conjunction with this report.
“Long backlogs and supply-chain constrained production activity kept new order activity trending within a narrow range,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He added, “Based on preliminary March inputs, NA Classes 5-8 net orders were up slightly compared to February, and while orders have been moving sideways for most of two quarters, March’s intake was the best since October.”
Vieth concluded, “Recent economic news, to include freight and freight rate data, has been less positive, but we reiterate that the ground rules of ACT’s OEM data collection remain the biggest constraint on orders presently: The OEMs only report orders that are scheduled to be built within 12 months. With the Class 8 backlog-to-build ratio at 11 months in February and the medium-duty backlog-to-build ratio at around 8 months, order volumes since early Q4’21 have largely been mirroring production activity. In both cases, backlog-to-build ratios are essentially double normalized levels.”
Regarding the heavy-duty segment, he noted, “Class 8 orders remained range-bound, posting a virtual carbon copy of February’s order intake. With Class 8 backlogs stretching through 2022 and still no clear visibility on the easing of the everything shortage, March’s net order haul reflects the ongoing conservative approach by the OEMs looking to limit the risk of overbooking and underbuilding that plagued the industry in 2021.” About medium-duty, Vieth said, “With Classes 5-7 backlogs remaining just below all-time levels in February, order moderation continued into March.”
ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.
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