With new Class 8 truck orders from April having essentially filled the backlog for the remainder of 2021 in North America, and with 2022 order books not yet opened, it’s no surprise that order numbers plummeted in May.
The approximately 30% decrease in orders compared with April orders highlights an ongoing demand strength rather a weakening, explained ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth in a press release.
North American Class 8 in May were 22,900-23,600 unit, down between 30-32% compared with last month, according to ACT and FTR, respectively.
May orders were still up 16,800 units compared with May 2020’s COVID-stricken intake, FTR officials said. Class 8 orders now total 420,000 units for the previous 12 months.
Freight growth continues to be robust and spot rates are hitting all-time highs. Build slots for delivery this year are filling up, and OEMs are not yet booking for 2022.
Most fleets have ordered all the trucks they need for 2021, Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR, said in a press release.
“They are getting frustrated because production is unable to keep up with demand. Carriers need more trucks on the road now, but semiconductor and other component shortages continue to restrict production,” Ake explains.
A tremendous pent-up demand has generated in the market.
“Freight is growing at a brisk pace, but the supply chain bottlenecks slow the flow of new trucks coming off the production line. This, in turn, is keeping the spot market overheated,” Ake said.
The hot spot market has left OEMs uncertain how to price 2022 models as the price of steel, aluminum and rubber have spiked as the economy restarts as the COVID-19 vaccinations continue to be distributed across the U.S.
“It is possible we will see record order volumes when the OEMs open their 2022 order boards,” Ake predicts.