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Truck orders tumble off record highs but 'resilient'

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North American Class 8 net orders for November fell to 34,300, according to preliminary data released by FTR, well off September’s 56,000-unit record.

Orders may have slide each of the last two months, but compared to last year’s weak results show tremendous gains. November order activity was down 20% month-over-month but up 254% year-over-year. Class 8 orders now total 295,000 for the last 12 months.

"Much of the year appears to have been slotted for production in 2023," said Jonathan Starks, FTR’s 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.”

OEMs having opened their orderboards for 2023 more broadly, and ongoing pent-up demand — with tailwinds from strong carrier profitability and elevated fleet age — is proving resilient, said ACT Research Vice President and Senior Analyst Eric Crawford. "We continue to expect a freight recession, and an eventual economic recession – mild to medium in magnitude – but OEMs at this point have clear visibility to a strong (first quarter of 2023), barring any unforeseen cataclysmic events."