OEMs Remain Cautious About Booking Class 8 Orders – Equipment
OEMs are content to book orders per month, just below current production rates, and control the total backlog.
Class 8 net orders in March were between about 21,300 and 21,500 units, according to ACT Research and FTR reports, respectively. This represents an increase of approximately 3% month over month and a decrease of 47% year over year.
Orders for Class 8 trucks are expected to hover around that range until OEMs have confidence in improving future supply chain performance, FTR officials lamented in a press release.
Demand for new trucks remains robust, but production has been significantly constrained by shortages of semiconductors and other components. Labor shortages at OEMs and suppliers also remain an issue, FTR officials said.
“The March order total reflects a frozen market,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR.
The March figure indicates that production levels remained stable, he added.
“This trend started seven months ago and hasn’t changed much,” Ake said. “Once supply chain issues improve, OEMs will be able to significantly increase orders. But until then, conditions remain stagnant. Several automakers have recently announced that computer chip supplies remain tight, but supply chain improvements are still expected in the second half of the year.
Backlog-to-build ratios are essentially double normalized levels,” explained Kenny Vieth, president and principal analyst at ACT.
“Class 8 orders remained range limited, posting a virtual carbon copy of February’s order intake,” Vieth added. “With Class 8 backlogs stretching into 2022 and still no clear visibility on the alleviation of the shortage of everything, March’s net order volume reflects the current conservative approach of OEMs seeking to limit the risk of overbooking and underbuilding that plagued the industry in 2021.”
Class 8 orders totaled 300,000 units in the last twelve months.