Another year has passed. While not as hectic as 2020, 2021 had its own set of challenges. Rather than having a hard time finding workers to put into trucks, now companies are scrambling to get as many trucks and parts as they can. December 2021 was pretty good news for Class 8 sales.
ACT Research pins the number at 22,800; FTR, 23,100. While lower than December 2020 by about 50%, it is well over double the amount from the month prior.
In eight out of twelve months, 2021 sold more trucks. The period where 2020 prevailed was in September to December, where pent-up demand from harsh lockdowns boosted the number of goods needing to be shipped for the holiday season. In 2021, lockdowns were more relaxed, not to mention there were supply chain woes that were not present during the start of the pandemic.
Don Ake of FTR continues to repeat what he has been saying for the majority of 2021: companies want new big rigs faster than they can be produced. “Fleets need a considerable number of new trucks right now. Industry capacity is extremely tight, resulting in elevated freight rates. The carriers have freight to haul and funds available for new trucks, but OEMs can’t build enough. Also, the large fleets have had to run vehicles beyond their trade-in cycles and need replacement trucks.”
In total FTR says truck sales for 2021 were 365,000, one thousand per day. Quite an increase, about twenty-eight percent, from 2020 sales, which were higher still than 2019.
What will be truly an interesting sight to behold will be this coming year. With trucks rolling off the factory and onto the roads almost immediately, 2022 reservations for many manufacturers were filled before the prior year even finished. Trucking companies wanting to get a new truck now may have to wait until 2023 or even 2024 before the order can be fulfilled.
It is truly great how the trucking industry is thriving, not surviving, in these times of pestilence and scarcity. Considering how truckers embody the American spirit, perhaps that is not too surprising.
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