As they hustle to keep up with the nation’s economic rebound, freight fleets in North America are driving historic demand for new trucks, pushing net orders for Class 8 vehicles for March above 40,000 units for a record sixth consecutive month, according to statistics from FTR Transportation Intelligence.
Coming in at 40,800 units, March orders were down 9% over February, but up more than 33,000 units over the pandemic-impacted March 2020. Class 8 orders now total 372,000 units for the past 12 months.
“There is tremendous pent-up demand being generated due to the constrictions on supply. The pressure in the market is building, as orders continue to flow into OEMs at a record pace. To have this level of orders roll in for half a year is impressive and unprecedented,” Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR, said in a release.
The orders are a response to impressive freight growth generated by the economic recovery and government stimulus, and significantly more trucks will be needed to handle those trends in coming months, FTR said. However, truck production continues to be substantially limited by shortages of semiconductors and various other components, the Bloomington, Indiana-based firm said.
“The component shortages of semiconductors and other parts are causing problems throughout trucking. Fleets desperately need many new trucks right now to keep up with demand, but production throughput is being constricted. It appears the industry will be playing catch-up well into the first half of next year,” he said.
“There are no clear indications of when the supply-chain issues will be resolved. We expect computer chips to be in short supply for at least a few more months. Worker shortages at key suppliers should get alleviated some by the vaccines. The backup at the ports will also take a few months to resolve,” said Ake.
Another big month for Class 8 Truck Orders! Preliminary N.A. Class 8 net orders for March came in at 40,800 units, a record 6th consecutive month exceeding the 40k unit threshold. #trucking #OEM #freight— FTR | Transportation Intelligence (@FTRintel) April 5, 2021
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