Despite a decrease in Class 8 orders in January 2021, the orders represent a 146% improvement from January 2020. - Graph: FTR

Despite a decrease in Class 8 orders in January 2021, the orders represent a 146% improvement from January 2020.

Graph: FTR

While a surge of truck demand may be on the horizon, orders of Class 5 through 8 trucks dipped in January compared with December 2020.

Preliminary North American Class 8 order numbers in January were between 42,200-42,800 units, down between 17% and 18% from December 2020, industry analyst firms FTR and ACT Research reported, respectively.   

Despite the decrease, the orders represent between a 144% and 146% improvement from a year ago, and January is the fourth month in a row for Class 8 orders to exceed 40,000 units, FTR reported.

“Freight growth remains vibrant and fleets are rushing to add capacity as fast as possible,” FTR officials said in press release. “OEMs and suppliers are trying to keep pace with the surging demand. Fleets continue to place orders out to the end of the year to acquire trucks as they become available.”

While demand for Class 8 trucks is surging, shortages of raw materials and component parts may result in supply beign unable to be met in the short-term, said FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles Don Ake.

“Class 8 suppliers are working diligently to ramp up production but are hindered by the pandemic and material shortages. In addition, imported parts deliveries are being delayed up to two weeks at the ports,” Ake said.

Class 8 orders for the previous 12 months total 308,000, FTR reported.

In the medium-duty market, Class 5-7 demand in January slid 28% to 25,300 units, ACT reported. Even with the slump in orders, January’s figures were still up 26% compared to January 2020.

“Despite January’s preliminary net order moderation, the pandemic-driven shift in consumer spending from experiences to goods remains a benefit for the providers of local trucking services, and the symbiotic relationship between heavy-duty freight rates and medium-duty demand continues to impact this market segment,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst, in a press release.

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