Preliminary North America Class 8 truck orders were up once again in June 2021. Orders were up on both a month-over-month (m/m) and year-over-year (y/y) basis.
FTR reports preliminary orders were up 13% m/m, reaching a total of 26,700 units. It says orders are also up 71% y/y and total 431,000 units for the previous 12 months. The research firm says in its press release announcing June order numbers that the order total is positive and this order cycle appears to have bottomed out in May. FTR expects orders to surge further once OEMs start booking for 2022, which could happen in July.
Don Ake, Vice President of Commercial Vehicles for FTR, comments, “It appears that June was a transitory month. Orders for delivery in 2021 are ending, as fleets grabbed the remaining built slots for 2021 and there are indications that some early orders for 2022 were added to the mix. Presently, the first quarter of 2022 is uncertain from a production standpoint because unfilled orders from 2021 are expected to roll into 2022. Supply chain issues continue to restrict OEM production, creating a shortage of new trucks and generating a great deal of pent-up demand.
“Fleets are still in desperate need of new trucks to handle the surge in freight growth. The full opening of the economy continues to strain deliveries, with service levels falling at some of the most reliable carriers. Spot freight rates remain highly elevated, an indicator that freight capacity is being greatly stressed.”
ACT Research puts Class 8 orders at 25,700 units in June for an 11% increase over May and a 61% rise compared to June 2020. It also notes orders for Classes 5-7 reached 22,800 units in June which was a 12% drop from May.
According to ACT's press release announcing its June order numbers, the Classes 5-7 segment has a tougher comparison to 2020 as it did not weather the market impacts of the global pandemic as well as the Class 8 market. However, ACT says June 2021 orders were still 26% above those in the same month last year.
“With 2021 backlogs essentially filled and 2022 order activity remaining calendar constrained, North American Classes 5-8 orders in June moved sideways from May,” says Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He adds, “We reiterate that order moderation aligns with expectations, driven by the supply of open build slots in 2021 and not fully opened 2022 orderbooks, rather than any material fall-off in demand for equipment.”
Regarding the heavy-duty market, Vieth comments, “With orders below recent activity, the 3- and 6-month net order SAARs continued to moderate, but remain at still-robust run rate levels. June’s Classes 5-7 net orders slowed, in a still-supportive vehicle demand environment, with 3- and 6-month SAARs remaining elevated.”
Final order data will be available from both research firms later in July.