FTR reported preliminary North American Class 8 net orders for April were 34,600 units. These numbers are continuing to exhibit strength above normal trends. It was the best April order activity since 2018, FTR stated. Orders were down 15 percent month over month, but 30,500 units above April 2020. Class 8 orders now total 403,000 units for the previous 12 months.
Freight growth remains sturdy, and fleets anticipate needing additional trucks to expand capacity throughout 2021. The supply of new trucks remains restrained due to supply chain delays; therefore, carriers continue to order at healthy rates to secure new equipment by year’s end.
“Fleets see the need for more trucks extending out the entire year,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR. “Orders remain elevated, as carriers evaluate their needs in Q4. This indicates they expect freight conditions to continue along at healthy levels right into 2022.
“The supply chain is stressed right now, limiting the number of new trucks that can be produced,” Ake said. “With orders continuing at this pace, it is possible that the supply chain will not be able to catch up with the fantastic truck demand for months.
“Last year, the industry was faced with all the negative challenges of the pandemic,” Ake said. “We came through that surprisingly well under the circumstances. This year we have a whole new set of challenges. It’s almost as if conditions are too good. But the people in the commercial vehicle industry are working extremely hard to catch up with the tremendous demand.”
Final data for April will be available from FTR later in the month as part of its North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service.