February Class 8 Orders Mirror Weak Production Levels

Trucks on the production line at Volvo's Dublin, Va., New River Valley Plant. (Justin Ide/Bloomberg News)

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Preliminary North American Class 8 orders in February came in at 21,000, or essentially even with January’s volume, but were less than half of what fleets ordered a year earlier, ACT Research reported, citing truck makers’ initial data.

In the 2021 period, orders were 44,191, according to ACT.

One analyst said it’s the length of the backlog, not the order volume, that best illustrates the demand for new trucks.

Truck makers are only reporting orders that are scheduled to be built within 12 months, which is the current length of the backlog, ACT President Kenny Vieth said in a release — and so orders “have largely been mirroring production activity.”

He reiterated that with “critical industry demand drivers at, or near, record levels, industry strength should be measured with long backlog lead times, rather than in tepid new order activity.”

FTR pegged February’s preliminary order volumes at 21,100.

“The stable February order total is not good news for future production,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR. “By not booking more orders, truck makers are signaling that the supply chain remains clogged, and they don’t anticipate being able to ramp up production in the next couple of months.”

Class 8 orders have totaled 320,000 units over the past twelve months, according to FTR. — Transport Topics

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