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Heavy-duty

Class 8 orders remain strong in April

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David Sickels is the Associate Editor of Tire Review and Fleet Equipment magazines. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 net orders for April were 34,600 units, continuing to exhibit strength above normal trends. It was the best April order activity since 2018. Orders were down 15% m/m but 30,500 units above April 2020. Class 8 orders now total 403,000 units for the previous 12 months, FTR says.

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According to ACT Research, North American Classes 5-7 demand, with orders at 27,300 units, slipped 15% from March. Demand in this segment also enjoyed an easy year-ago comparison, besting April 2020 by 269%.

“It is not a surprise that Class 8 orders fell to their lowest level since September and that the decline was strictly driven by the supply of open build slots in 2021, rather than a change in new equipment demand,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.

Freight growth remains sturdy, and fleets anticipate needing additional trucks to expand capacity throughout 2021, FTR says. The supply of new trucks remains restrained due to supply chain delays, therefore carriers continue to order at healthy rates to secure new equipment by year’s end.

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“Fleets see the need for more trucks extending out the entire year. Orders remain elevated, as carriers evaluate their needs in Q4. This indicates they expect freight conditions to continue along at healthy levels right into 2022,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR. “The supply chain is stressed right now, limiting the number of new trucks that can be produced. With orders continuing at this pace, it is possible that the supply chain will not be able to catch up with the fantastic truck demand for months. Last year, the industry was faced with all the negative challenges of the pandemic. We came through that surprisingly well under the circumstances. This year we have a whole new set of challenges. It’s almost as if conditions are too good. But the people in the commercial vehicle industry are working extremely hard to catch up with the tremendous demand.”

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