COLUMBUS, Ind. — Demand for new tractors stayed fairly strong in March, despite the turmoil experienced in the banking sector and yet another interest rate increase.
Pent-up demand remains resilient, and cancellations continue at miniscule levels for both heavy duty (HD) and medium duty (MD), according to ACT Research’s latest State of the Industry: North American Classes 5-8 report.
Curbing the enthusiasm somewhat, HD and MD orders declined double digits year-over-year, the report noted.
According to Eric Crawford, ACT Research’s vice president and 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% above industry build plan, with the industry producing 31,306 units.”
Crawford added that “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 order boards open. March was no exception, with backlog down 12,500 units month-over-month to 218,300.”
Coupled with March’s stronger build rate, Crawford said that the HD backlog-to-build ratio declined 100 basis points month-over-month to 7.6 months (8.1 seasonally adjusted). Of note, 122,400 units in backlog are scheduled for later this year, considerably below the 142,400 units scheduled for this time last year.
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