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Class 8 truck orders take a timeout in January

Class 8 truck orders fell year over year in January for the first time since August, but OEMs suggest another strong year ahead.

“In this truck sector, there’s pent-up demand from the prior three years of industry under production, and customers need to replace aging fleets,” Paccar CEO Preston Feight said on the company’s Jan. 24 fourth-quarter earnings call.

Daimler Truck North America CEO John O’Leary echoed that sentiment in a roundtable with journalists in Las Vegas, reiterating remarks he made to FreightWaves in January.

“There remains a very healthy backlog for both DTNA and the industry,” O’Leary said.

Slower Class 8 orders not a trend

A retrenchment to 18,400 orders in January in no way suggests a trend, especially after five consecutive months of year-over-year improvement in bookings.

Class 8 truck orders fell below year-ago bookings in January for the first time since August 2022. (Illustration: ACT Research)

“Given how robust Class 8 orders were into year end, the relative pause in January is not surprising,” Eric Crawford, ACT’s vice president and senior analyst, said in a news release. “We note that over the final four months of 2022, nearly 159,000 Class 8 net orders were placed.”

Divining meaning from monthly orders is unwise, Paccar’s Feight said.

I think that following orders on a month-to-month basis is a risky thing to do and to try to get any guidance out of that,” he said. “Because sometimes it’s fleet-buying season. Sometimes, different OEMs will handle it differently.”

Supply issues linger for Volvo more than Daimler Truck or Paccar

Volvo Group North America is an outlier. It did not open its 2023 truck orderbook in the third quarter or for much of the fourth quarter, resulting in 21% lower orders. Volvo remains more affected by supply chain disruptions than Paccar and Daimler Truck, which suggested parts availability issues are largely behind them.

“[The decrease] should absolutely not be overread,” Martin Lundstedt, Volvo Group CEO, said on the company’s Jan. 26 earnings call. “We gradually are opening [orderbooks and] we have a good refilling into the remainder of the year.”

Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF Trucks orders for the second half are “coming in nicely,” Paccar’s Feight said. “It seems like it will fill in 2023 well.”

Daimler Truck said it expects solid results for all of 2022 when it reports on March 10. Traton Group, which owns Navistar International, reports its Q4 and full-year results on March 7.

Volvo Group sets Q4 delivery record as supply chain issues linger

Paccar sets Q4 and 2022 records in revenue and net income

Daimler Truck CEO calls for strong Class 8 market in ‘23

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.