January Class 8 Orders Plummet Compared With 2021

Class 8 orders in January plunged compared with a year earlier to just above 21,000, and reflected the caution truck makers continue to exhibit in the face of ongoing supply chain difficulties and an already very lengthy backlog, ACT Research reported.

Orders reached 21,300 compared with 42,307 a year earlier.

“The first half of last year truck makers weren’t practicing that type of discipline, which is how the backlog got filled up and lots of customers got disappointed,” ACT Vice President Steve Tam told Transport Topics.

“Now the reality has come home to roost. The opacity of the supply chain, certainly, hasn’t improved,” he said. “I hope it hasn’t gotten any worse. Then you have to start thinking about geopolitical tensions and all the saber rattling happening in Asia.”

For example, Taiwan — long coveted by mainland China — accounts for 65% of the global semiconductor output, Tam said.

American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear issued a statement Jan. 21 on the announcement that Intel is investing $20 billion in a new computer chip manufacturing plant near Columbus, Ohio: “This is how we climb out from these COVID-induced shortages — by investing in our nation’s supply chain.”

Recent U.S. Department of Commerce data showed that median inventory held by chip consumers (including automakers or medical device manufacturers, as examples) has fallen from 40 days in 2019 to less than five days in 2021.

FTR pegged preliminary January orders at 21,400.

Truck makers are entering orders at the same rate as production, said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR. “Normally, this would indicate a very stable market. In this case, it reflects a market frozen by a weak supply chain.”

Full story here.

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