COLUMBUS, Ind. — Final December Class 8 net orders, at 26,352 units, were down 14% year-over-year. Within that top line, tractor orders were down 31%, while vocational equipment orders were up 71% year-over-year, according to ACT Research’s latest State of the Industry: North American Classes 5-8 report.
“For freight-related tractors, the decline in orders may hint at private fleet demand starting to diminish, which would be welcome news for spot rates. At the other end of the spectrum, vocational equipment orders remain strong as pent-up demand continues,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “With four less build days in December, Class 8 build decreased 1.5% year-over-year to 26,110 units, but production was nearly 4,500 units above the OEMs recently reported plans. The strong finish to the year, we believe is primarily attributable to a California prebuy ahead of CARB regulations.”
After five months of increase, inventories fell 3,100 units in December to 64,103, if up 19% year-over-year, Vieth noted.
CARB regulations that started Jan. 1 may have contributed positively to otherwise seasonally soft retail sales at 29,800 units, down 13% year-over-year.
“December’s drop in inventory was only about half normal, and a weakening sales trend in a period of still-strong production suggests the potential for a rapid inventory escalation in Q1 as we enter the weakest period of the year for sales,” he concluded.
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.