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Classes 5-8 Production Exceeded Build Plans in March as Supply Conditions Slowly Improve

April 21, 2023, 07:05 AM
Filed Under: Trucking

Trucking industry demand was quite healthy in March, despite the turmoil experienced in the banking sector and another interest rate increase. Pent-up demand remains resilient, and cancellations continue at miniscule levels for both heavy duty (HD) and medium duty (MD). Curbing the enthusiasm somewhat, HD and MD orders declined double digits year over year, according to ACT Research’s latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 report.

According to Eric Crawford, ACT Research’s Vice President, Senior Analyst, “As supply conditions have slowly improved, so has output. Supporting this trend, March HD and MD production each exceeded build plans. The Class 8 build rate in March was 1,361 upd, 4.2 percent above industry build plan, with the industry producing 31,306 units.” He continued, “Classes 5-7 build averaged 1,090 upd, 13 percent above build plan, with 25,065 units produced.”

Regarding backlog, he noted, “Given the relatively weak environment for orders, combined with a relatively healthy supply chain, Class 8 backlog should be on a downward trajectory until 2024 orderboards open. March was no exception, with backlog down 12.5k units month over month to 218.3k.”

Crawford concluded, “Coupled with March’s stronger build rate, the HD backlog-to-build ratio declined 100 basis points month over month to 7.6 months (8.1 seasonally adjusted). Of note, 122.4k units in backlog are scheduled for 2H’23, considerably below the 142.4k units scheduled for 2H’22 this time last year.”

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