Orders fell to 21,600 units in January, according to  FTR data, respectively.

Orders fell to 21,600 units in January, according to  FTR data, respectively.

Graph: FTR

North American Class 8 truck orders have declined for the fourth consecutive month after reaching a record high in September 2022, according to FTR, but if you put the numbers into perspective, activity remains healthy.

Orders fell to between 18,400 and 21,600 units in January, according to ACT Research and FTR data, respectively.

The orders were down 25% month over month, but up 2% year over year, FTR reports.

“With backlogs already solidifying production slots, it is no surprise that orders have fallen off their previous torrential pace,” FTR wrote. “Orders may have declined over the last four months, but they were still higher than year-earlier totals.”

Eric Starks, chairman of FTR’s board, said orders remain above replacement demand levels but are below recent production activity. As such, backlogs likely moved slightly lower in January.

“Putting the order numbers into perspective is important. In the first half of 2022, orders averaged just shy of 18,000 units per month,” he said. “This suggests that recent activity is healthy, and January itself is up 2% year-over-year. This type of activity by fleets indicates that they are not overly concerned about an economic recession and continue to lock in build slots for the second half of 2023.”

Class 8 orders came in at 303,000 units for the previous 12 months, FTR reports.

“Given how robust Class 8 orders were into year end, the relative pause in January is not surprising,” said Eric Crawford, ACT’s vice president and senior analyst.  

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