FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 net orders for July fell to their lowest level since November 2021 at 10,600 units. Order activity was the weakest for the month of July since 2019, down 33% from June and down 60% y/y. Class 8 orders have now totaled 244,000 for the past twelve months.
OEMs have essentially run out of build slots for 2022 and are not yet entering orders for 2023. The continued supply chain disruptions are limiting OEM output in 2022 and the fluctuating cost of materials and components has caused delays in confirming orders for shipment next year. Demand for new trucks remains strong.
Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR, commented “Orders, though paltry, met expectations since OEMs have filled almost all available build slots this year. July is typically the weakest order month of the year, so it is no surprise orders dipped to around 10,000 units. Fleets continue to shop around, looking for available trucks, but they are becoming increasingly difficult to find. The supply chain is improving very slowly, but not nearly enough to meet demand.
“It's like when popular concert seats are sold out, you get no sales the next day. Class 8 trucks are popular and in scarce supply in 2022. The OEMs just don’t have the capacity to meet the high demand this year. OEMs could increase production by about 10% over the current rate if they could get the parts, but the supply chain remains clogged.
“Despite the economic uncertainty, demand for new trucks is expected to remain robust in 2023. Freight is still forecast to grow at a steady clip. When booking commences for 2023, possibly as early as September, Class 8 orders could reach record heights.”