FTR on Friday validated ACT Research’s announcement from Thursday that preliminary North American Class 8 orders for July hit an all-time high of 52,250 units, just surpassing the previous record of 52,194 orders in March 2006.
FTR reports orders were up 25 percent month-over-month and 187 percent year-over-year. Orders have been astounding in 2018. Five of the highest 12 order months ever have occurred in the first seven months of this year, the company states. North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have now totaled 445,000 units.
FTR states the order boom is due to several factors. Fleets are desperate to get new trucks, but supply is limited. Because fleets are frustrated by the current situation and are uncertain when they can receive trucks, they are placing a large volume of orders in hopes of getting some deliveries at some point in the future. In essence, FTR reports there is a truck shortage. Freight growth is robust and industry capacity is extremely tight. OEM’s have been hindered because numerous parts and component suppliers have not been able to produce and deliver on time, the company says.
“The supply chain issues began around March. OEM’s started falling behind in deliveries to fleets in April. Deliveries did improve a bit in June, but most OEM’s are still operating in catch-up mode,” says Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “It is uncertain when suppliers will be able to improve delivery times and for OEMs’ to ship all orders on time. Realistically it may take up to a year for everyone to catch up.”
He adds, “This is a unique situation where strong demand is meeting limited supply. Prices can’t rise enough to alleviate the situation. Therefore, the market is responding by placing an immense number of orders into the backlog. Fleets are reserving places in line, so they can get the maximum number of trucks in the future. It is a bizarre occurrence and it will not be resolved soon. Conditions may be abnormal, but they are abnormally good.”