It appears the supply chain shortages of everything from rubber to aluminum is starting to take its toll on the trucking industry, as the number of new Class 8 truck orders for November 2021 were, for lack of a better word, weak.
November 2021 Numbers
ACT Research pins the number at 9,800 units, while FTR is a little more pessimistic with their estimation at 9,500. Regardless, both of them agree that the numbers are nosedives from the mid-20,000s of the previous months of 2021, making November 2021 the lowest performing in sales for the year.
Were these ordinary circumstances, this massive decrease would be justifiable cause for panic, but Don Ake, VP of commercial vehicles for FTR and who has been speaking of lower sales in the future since around the start of 2021, says there is no need for alarm.
“The low order numbers in November in no way are representative of total demand. The weak volumes are because OEMs are managing their backlogs very carefully. After overbooking almost every month in 2021, the OEMs are being extremely meticulous about scheduling commitments in 2022.
“This strategy will continue until the supply-chain situation improves. Once the OEMs are confident, they can obtain the necessary production inputs, they will boost production and enter more orders. Backlogs remain at sturdy levels, but OEMs don’t want them much higher until they know their manufacturing capacity.”
While order numbers are low, backlogs for production at truck manufacturing companies continue to climb, with logistics companies clamoring to get slots for the 2023 year.
This period of time is the antithesis of early 2020, rather than trucks being built much faster than they can be sold, they are now being snatched months in advance. Even the used truck and component markets are feeling the strain of pent-up demand. It is both a time of excitement and anxiety in the trucking industry, and it is fair to say that having more demand for trucks than the rate at which they can be produced is a nice problem to have in the greater scheme of things!
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