Heavy Duty Trucking’s annual Fact Book is designed to provide a snapshot of the current state of the industry, where it’s been, and where it’s going. These numbers can help you in planning and benchmarking your fleet, and in telling trucking’s story to others. - Graphic: HDT

Heavy Duty Trucking’s annual Fact Book is designed to provide a snapshot of the current state of the industry, where it’s been, and where it’s going. These numbers can help you in planning and benchmarking your fleet, and in telling trucking’s story to others.

Graphic: HDT

Demand for trucks and trailers has been robust since orders bottomed out during the first months of the pandemic last year. Yet by mid-2021 orders were constrained, as most OEMs had few open build spots. Orders are expected to surge once equipment makers open the order boards for 2022. 

“Fleets are still in desperate need of new trucks to handle the surge in freight growth,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR, in reporting June truck orders. “The full opening of the economy continues to strain deliveries, with service levels falling at some of the most reliable carriers.”

Although both tractor and trailer orders hit their cyclical peaks in the fourth quarter of 2020, supply chain constraints have conspired to stretch delivery dates well beyond their typical times. The OEMs are working diligently to address issues, but many customers will not receive their equipment when they want it. While ACT does not forecast orders, it expects U.S. tractor and trailer retail sales volumes to increase more than 40% in 2021 and continue growing in 2022. - Source: Act Research

Although both tractor and trailer orders hit their cyclical peaks in the fourth quarter of 2020, supply chain constraints have conspired to stretch delivery dates well beyond their typical times. The OEMs are working diligently to address issues, but many customers will not receive their equipment when they want it. While ACT does not forecast orders, it expects U.S. tractor and trailer retail sales volumes to increase more than 40% in 2021 and continue growing in 2022.

Source: Act Research

The skyrocketing prices for late-model used trucks are another indication of the demand.

With big backlogs for new-truck builds, prices for Class 8 used trucks have seen a rapid escalation that began almost immediately after COVID reared its ugly head. The average price in May was over $58,600, according to ACT Research. Competition in the same strong freight market as new trucks, and with a significant lack of used-truck inventory owing to slow new truck sales, had added more than $20,000 to the price of a used Class 8 truck over the past year or so. ACT Research does not formally forecast used truck prices, but expects full-year 2021 prices to eclipse 2020 by 20-30%.
Similarly, J.D. Power, looking at auction prices for the first six months of 2021, says its benchmark group of 4- to 6-year-old trucks is running nearly 85% ahead of the same time period last year and 42% ahead of the first six months of 2019. - Source: ACT Research

With big backlogs for new-truck builds, prices for Class 8 used trucks have seen a rapid escalation that began almost immediately after COVID reared its ugly head. The average price in May was over $58,600, according to ACT Research. Competition in the same strong freight market as new trucks, and with a significant lack of used-truck inventory owing to slow new truck sales, had added more than $20,000 to the price of a used Class 8 truck over the past year or so. ACT Research does not formally forecast used truck prices, but expects full-year 2021 prices to eclipse 2020 by 20-30%.
Similarly, J.D. Power, looking at auction prices for the first six months of 2021, says its benchmark group of 4- to 6-year-old trucks is running nearly 85% ahead of the same time period last year and 42% ahead of the first six months of 2019.

Source: ACT Research

Class 8 U.S. retail sales through the first six months of 2021 are well on pace to eclipse 2020’s, according to Ward’s data. 2020 sales totaled 191,900. Sales for the first six months of this year totaled 111,552. Freightliner continues to gain in Class 8 market share. Its share rose from 36.5% in 2019 to 37.4% in 2020 to just under 40% for the first six months of 2021. International had the largest drop in 2020 from the previous year, slipping from 13.7% to 12.1% in 2020, and stands at 11.7% for the first six months of this year.

Like their larger counterpart, U.S. net orders for medium-duty (Class 5-7) vehicles peaked in the fourth quarter 2020, hitting an all-time high in October. Also confounded by parts availability issues, smaller vehicles are taking a back seat to heavier trucks as manufacturers allocate scarce resources. ACT forecasts U.S. Class 5-7 sales to increase more than 10% in 2021, with more moderate growth in 2022. - Source: ACT Research

Like their larger counterpart, U.S. net orders for medium-duty (Class 5-7) vehicles peaked in the fourth quarter 2020, hitting an all-time high in October. Also confounded by parts availability issues, smaller vehicles are taking a back seat to heavier trucks as manufacturers allocate scarce resources. ACT forecasts U.S. Class 5-7 sales to increase more than 10% in 2021, with more moderate growth in 2022.

Source: ACT Research

Private fleets tapped the brakes in 2020 on their accelerated equipment trade cycles, according to the National Private Truck Council’s 2021 annual benchmarking survey. After reporting the most rapid Class 8 equipment turns in the history of the survey (at 6.3 years) for 2019 last year, they lengthened the trades out ever so slightly to 6.4 years in 2020. But that tells only part of the story. The overall trade mileage increased to 620,000 for the average Class 8 tractor — up 10,000 miles from 2019’s 610,000. But even though the replacement cycle was relaxed slightly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the peppier trade cycle NPTC’s members have reported over the past several years allows private fleets to take advantage of the latest technological advances, fuel economy improvements, and various operating and customer service advantages. - Source: National Private Truck Council

Private fleets tapped the brakes in 2020 on their accelerated equipment trade cycles, according to the National Private Truck Council’s 2021 annual benchmarking survey. After reporting the most rapid Class 8 equipment turns in the history of the survey (at 6.3 years) for 2019 last year, they lengthened the trades out ever so slightly to 6.4 years in 2020. But that tells only part of the story. The overall trade mileage increased to 620,000 for the average Class 8 tractor — up 10,000 miles from 2019’s 610,000. But even though the replacement cycle was relaxed slightly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the peppier trade cycle NPTC’s members have reported over the past several years allows private fleets to take advantage of the latest technological advances, fuel economy improvements, and various operating and customer service advantages.

Source: National Private Truck Council

Trucking is an increasingly data-driven industry. Numbers matter. There’s no end to the available software and analytics available to fleets today to help them analyze and improve their operations.

But sometimes you want to look at statistics and data to help give you the big picture, and this is what Heavy Duty Trucking’s annual Fact Book issue is all about. It’s designed to provide a snapshot of the current state of the industry, where it’s been, and where it’s going. These numbers can help you in planning and benchmarking your fleet, and in telling trucking’s story to others. And it can serve as a reference guide throughout the year.

This is the seventh year for the HDT Fact Book. Check out the other published sections of the Fact Book:

Industry: Trucking Rides High on Economic Recovery

Logistics: Winners in Logistics Adapt to Fast-Changing Demands

Safety: Safety, Regulatory Issues Top of Mind for Fleets

Drivers: Driver Trends Remain Consistent

Equipment: Truck, Trailer Makers Strive to Keep Up With Demand

Maintenance: Maintenance Costs Expected to Rise

SustainabilitySustainability Focus Not Slowed By Pandemic

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