Truck manufacturers continued to accept orders for new vehicles in February only at a muted rate, showing that automakers lack confidence that that their supply chains will improve in the short term despite the industry’s roaring demand to get more tractor-trailers on the road, two reports have found.
A lingering shortage of drivers, vehicles, and parts—especially semiconductors—have constrained freight haulers from adding the additional capacity needed to move surging inventory levels in recent months, even as retailers and brands flood seaports with newly imported goods.
In spite of the climbing numbers of orders for class 8 trucks, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are booking fleet requirements just a portion at a time in order to not overbook their production schedules and to keep backlogs at a manageable level, according to a report from transportation analyst firm FTR.
“The steady order numbers do not reflect at all the huge demand for new trucks. There is a severe shortage of new and used trucks and the economy continues to generate steady freight growth in all segments,” Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR, said in a release. “Even with the recent stagnant booking volumes, orders for the last twelve months are at an impressive 320,000 units. However, the stable February order total is not good news for future production. By not booking more orders, OEMs are signaling that the supply chain remains clogged, and they don’t anticipate being able to ramp up production in the next couple of months.”
By the numbers, preliminary North American Class 8 net orders held steady in February, coming in at 21,100 units to mark a drop of 2% over the previous month and 53% below the same month lats year, Bloomington, Indiana-based FTR found.
Those figures were similar to a report from another firm, Columbus, Indiana-based ACT Research, which found that preliminary NA Class 8 net orders in February were 21,000 units.
“Constrained production capabilities and long backlogs continue to impede new order activity. Based on preliminary February inputs, North American Classes 5-8 net orders were essentially flat compared to January,” Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst, said in a release. “While order weakness is attributable to supply constraints, the ground rules of data collection play a part: The OEMs only report orders that are scheduled to be built within 12 months. With backlogs effectively stretching 12 months, and with limited forward visibility, order volumes have largely been mirroring production activity.”
ACT Research: CV Industry Strength Should Be Measured in Long Backlog Lead-times, Not Tepid New Order Activityhttps://t.co/SPGyeHGs8k— ACT Research (@actresearch) March 3, 2022