Commercial truck sales through the first nine months of 2021 are trending nearly 19 percent better than last year, NADA Chief Economist Patrick Manzi wrote in the most recent American Truck Dealers (ATD) Truck Beat report.
Medium-duty sales from January to September clocked in at 177,348 units, up 15.7 percent year-to-date. Heavy-duty sales were even stronger, growing 22.3 percent year-to-date to 163,683 units in the first nine months. Manzi says these strong numbers are impressive considering the slight downturn in orders last month and the expansive supply chain disruptions that are slowing truck production for all OEMs.
He adds increasing demand for other products also are having an impact on the global supply chain and the speed at which OEMs can return to normal production schedules.
"Throughout the year, the industry has dealt with shortages of semiconductor microchips, wiring harnesses and tires. While building trucks has been difficult because of shortages of inputs, demand for many other products has also been very strong on the back of an expanding economy featuring robust consumer spending," Manzi writes. "But there are still large backlogs of freight stuck in ships off coastal ports, waiting to be unloaded. Both limited staff at ports and the ongoing truck driver shortage have hindered delivery of freight once it reaches the ports. Some companies have turned to chartering their own private ships in an effort to avoid delays and stock shelves in time for the winter holiday season."
To date, Freightliner has experienced the largest change in market share in the Class 8 market in 2021, growing by 1.2 percent, and now holds 38.3 percent of the Class 8 new truck market. Peterbilt and Mack also have expanded their market share in 2021. Ford remains the dominant brand in the medium-duty space with 34.9 percent market share, up 1.9 percent to date. Freightliner has lost 2.0 percent market share in the Class 4-7 market. Dodge, Isuzu, GM and Hino are the other brands to grow thus far in 2021.
Manzi concludes in stating new truck demand should remain firm through December, though supply chain challenges has forced ATD, like other data houses, to slightly alter its forecast for truck production and sales through the fourth quarter. ATD has moved its medium-duty sales prediction to 235,000 units, and its heavy-duty sales to 230,000 units.