Class 8 truck orders came in at 39,400 units in August, according to preliminary data from FTR, which was a 51% spike from July and up 91% year-over-year.
FTR attributes the increase to OEMs opening up their 2022 order boards, however notes they are still cautious about booking orders due to uncertainties in the supply chain that will affect pricing.
“Ordering has commenced for 2022 deliveries, but at a much more measured pace than expected. Fleets have wanted to place their 2022 orders for months,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president – commercial vehicles.
“They are in desperate need of trucks presently and with the freight market being so robust, anticipate that build slots will again be scarce next year. OEMs, on the other hand, have been reluctant to open their order boards due to high commodity prices and supply chain uncertainties. Demand for Class 8 trucks will be huge in 2022 due to growing freight markets and pent-up demand left over from 2021. Orders will be substantial from August until the end of the year. However, there could be wide fluctuations from month to month because the OEMs are being deliberate in how they manage and slot the orders.”
Ake said once the supply chain challenges are relieved, “orders will soar and build rates will jump.”
ACT Research, meanwhile, reported preliminary Classes 5-7 orders of 31,900 units, representing a five-month high.
“Demand for commercial vehicles was alive and well in August, as the Classes 5-7 market continued to build on record-setting volumes. And after a period of moderation related to limited 2022 build slot access, Class 8 orders began their climb into the end of 2021,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “While the supports for new vehicle demand remain in unprecedented territory, the industry’s ability to convert that demand into vehicles remains constrained by numerous supply-side issues that begin with, but are not limited to, semi-conductors. As such, production challenges are likely to weigh on orders, even as backlogs continue to rise.”
Class 8 orders also hit a five-month high, ACT reported, and Vieth said OEMs are sold though into Q2 of next year.