December Class 8 Orders Fall 12.5% After Short Rebound

November Marked the Only Year-Over-Year Increase Since July
Volvo New River Valley plant
(Volvo Group)

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North American Class 8 truck orders for December fell from the 2022 period and a short-lived rebound the previous month, according to ACT Research.

ACT preliminary data showed orders fell 12.5% to 26,500 units from 30,300 during the same time in 2022, and dropped 36.5% from the 41,700 units reported the previous month. November also included the only year-over-year increase since July.

“After a strong and upside-surprising November, Class 8 orders surprised in the opposite direction in 2023’s last report,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research. “With the largest seasonal factor of the year, seasonal adjustment pushes December’s intake sharply lower, to 20,900 units. The full-year 2023 Class 8 order tally fell 7.0% year-over-year to 278,500 units.”

FTR Transportation Intelligence reported similar results, with preliminary net orders for the month coming in 6% lower than in 2022 at 26,620 units. That also is a 26% decrease in orders from November. The report noted those comparisons fell within expectations given seasonal tendencies.

Vieth Kenny


“Despite the slight year-over-year decrease in orders in December, the market is still performing at a high level historically,” FTR Chairman Eric Starks said. “Even as the freight markets have been weak for an extended period, fleets are still ordering equipment. Order levels were above the historical average but continue to follow seasonal trends, reinforcing our expectations for replacement demand in 2024.”

FTR also noted in the report that total Class 8 orders for the previous 12 months have equaled 253,000 units. The annualized rate over the past six months has been 302,000 units, and the three-month annualized rate is 362,000 units. The report concluded that this means that truck manufacturers still are able to fill build slots at a healthy rate.

Eric Starks


“If the November orders were significantly higher than expected, December was more in line with the expectations and potentially a little lower,” said Magnus Koeck, vice president of strategy, marketing and brand management at Volvo Trucks North America. “As mentioned previously, the market is expected to slow down in 2024, but there is still a quite strong demand from larger fleets due to their pent-up demand.”

Koeck still anticipates the total Class 8 market in U.S. and Canada will be around 270,000 trucks in 2024, noting that it will be interesting to see what the retail numbers will show during the first quarter.

“Operating cost pressure and a soft freight environment continue to influence the heavy-duty tractor market,” said Jonathan Randall, president of Mack Trucks North America. “A reduction in orders from peak demand levels is expected as the freight market continues to face challenges. On the other hand, the vocational market remains strong with elevated construction spending and a robust backlog of customer orders.”

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