Class 8 sales have decreased slightly in May 2022, according to Freight Transportation Research (FTR), but FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles Don Ake says he is not concerned about the slight lull in sales. Here are the numbers, and the reasoning.
May 2022 Numbers and Details
FTR pins the number of big rig sales in May 2022 to be 13,300. This is a decrease of 13% from April, a 43% decrease from May 2021, and the lowest sales since November 2021.
These numbers on their own might make it seem like the trucking industry is in a position of weakness, but Ake provides context explaining why these numbers are no cause for concern. He compares the truck order backlog to that of a popular concert selling tickets a full year in advance.
“At the beginning, sales are high because there are plenty of seats available. But at the end, fewer tickets are sold because there are fewer seats to sell,” he said. “There just aren’t many build slots still open in 2022. Orders could even slide under 10,000 in the summer months before the cycle begins for next year.”
Ake implies that the best indicator for truck demands currently is the 2023 backlog for manufacturers, lists that have been kept secret. Ake remains optimistic that these backlogs are filling up as soon as slots are available.
“Freight is growing and fleets need more trucks to keep up with customer demands and to trade in older vehicles. The supply of new trucks has been running way behind demand for over a year now and many fleets need to catch up to their replacement cycles,” he said.
The data does seem to side with Ake; employment for truckers is at an all-time high, and those drivers need trucks to sit in and with which to deliver goods. It is hard to say that the current supply chain shortages for trucking necessities such as rubber and aluminum are good indicators for industry demand slowing down. When these materials are back in stock, trucking should be right as rain and vehicles should be rolling off the lots.
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