Class 8 orders marked a seven-month low in April, a reflection of a full 2021 backlog rather than diminishing demand, ACT Research reported.
“As we’ve said for some time, commercial vehicle demand is hot, but supply chain problems persist,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s president and senior analyst.
“Since the end of last year, ACT has been reporting that the 2021 question is not one of demand, but rather supply. The freight economy continues to enjoy broad-based strength, evident in freight rates that caught fire last July and have remained at or near record levels for months. With freight rates at current levels, carrier profits are soaring. Finally, jammed ports, inventory restocking, and persistently tight driver capacity suggest that the current freight and profitability landscape has legs, giving truckers the confidence to buy equipment.”
Vieth said truck makers are struggling “to turn orders into trucks” thanks to supply shortages, including microchips, steel, and plastic resin.
“Capacity to produce Class 8 vehicles this year essentially is full, and using 2018 as a guide, we would expect OEMs to begin opening 2022 order books in June and July. Broad-based economic strength continues to build the best medium-duty market since ACT began reporting data, with the order trend eclipsing the prebuy-fueled market of 2006,” Vieth said.