ACT Research and FTR will often vary their estimates for truck sales by a difference of a few hundred each month, with the correct answer presumably somewhere in the middle. With recent events in the trucking industry, their jobs have become significantly easier. This is evident by the numbers the two organizations have found for March 2022.
ACT Research has an estimate of 21,300 for March 2022, with FTR estimating 21,500 for the same period.
Assuming the accurate number is the average, 21,400 units, the range of truck sales for 2022 so far has been within 400 units. A graph from FTR exemplifies this trend, comparing 2022 to 2021.
“The March order total reflects a market frozen in place,” Ake said. “All the OEMs are evaluating the business environment monthly and only entering enough orders to fill in about a month’s worth of production in the schedule. March’s number indicates that production levels stayed flat.”
Kenny Veith, president of ACT Research, mirrors Ake’s sentiments. “Class 8 orders remained range-bound, posting a virtual carbon copy of February’s order intake. With Class 8 backlogs stretching through 2022 and still no clear visibility on the easing of the ‘everything shortage’, March’s net order haul reflects the ongoing conservative approach by the OEMs looking to limit the risk of overbooking and underbuilding that plagued the industry in 2021.”
Unless conditions improve in the economy, 2022 yearly sales estimates are set to be 252,000. This will be a decrease from the 365,000 sales experienced in 2021.
A side effect of the stagnating truck sales, occurring due to supply-side shortages rather than demand, is that fleets are holding onto trucks for longer due to the inherent difficulty of replacing them. Truckers in California may find themselves on the horns of a dilemma, however, as California Air Resources Board regulations may soon require trucks with engines over 14 years old to no longer be operable within state lines.
From a lack of trucks collecting cargo from ports to border issues with our northern and southern neighbors, more trucks are just what the doctor orders to help remedy the situation in 2022. Hopefully, the problems clogging the global supply chain will end soon and supply can meet demand somewhere in the middle.
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