North American Class 8 orders for September fell about 29% month over month to 28,400 units, according to FTR.  - Graph: FTR

North American Class 8 orders for September fell about 29% month over month to 28,400 units, according to FTR. 

Graph: FTR

While OEMS manage their first quarter production slots in a variety of ways, North American Class 8 orders for September fell about 29% month over month to between 27,400 and 28,400 units, ACT Research and FTR reported, respectively.

September’s order activity was down 12% year over year. with Class 8 orders now totaling 453,000 units for the previous 12 months, FTR officials said in a press release.

The fall in orders came as OEMs are managing their Q1 production slots in a variety of ways, FTR said. Some manufactures continue to enter orders in a measured fashion, filling openings as they become available. Other OEMs are rolling unmet 2021 orders into 2022 and delaying new 2022 bookings.

“This is a complicated, bizarre situation that OEMs have never before encountered,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR. “There are many orders that were expected to be built in 2021 that cannot be completed due to the severe component shortages, most notedly, semiconductors. The OEMs are unsure when they can build the leftover 2021 orders and any new orders because the parts shortages are now expected to continue well into next year. They can’t schedule production because they don’t know their actual build capacity.”

Ake said the order number is not a true indicator of 2022 truck demand.

“There is significant pent-up demand for trucks leftover from 2021 because OEMs were limited in their output,” he said. “Add to this the robust demand expected for 2022 due to sturdy freight growth. The fleets have a tremendous need for new trucks in 2022, however, the OEMs are delaying entering orders until the supply-chain situation is clearer.”

Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst, added: “It is important to note that it is not demand, but supply that is dictating new order activity, as OEMs are being judicious in fully opening 2022 order books when there is not clear visibility of supply-chain capacity next year. And, while the story is just starting to develop, recent reports of energy sector issues in China dampen hope for the current supply situation to surprise on the high-side in terms of recovery timing.”

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