Backlogs Continue: Truck Manufacturers Still Plagued by Shortages of Semiconductors and Other Parts

The production of new Class 8 trucks is always limited by a shortage of parts, stocks are almost depleted, and the prices for used trucks are so high that they don’t help. It’s the American Class 8 truck market in a nutshell.

Here is perhaps a better picture of the market: 27,300 new trucks were ordered in September, against 17,565 actually sold. The North American order book now stands at 279,000 trucks waiting to be built. If you ordered a new truck today, it wouldn’t even be built until mid-November 2022.

“If you want an interesting comparison, a year ago, in September, the order backlog was 100,200 units,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research.

Thinking of buying a truck from the dealership lot? Good luck with that, according to Vieth.

“The Class 8 inventory that exists today is what I would call a ‘process inventory’,” he explained. “It’s in transit, or it’s at a body shop, or it’s in the works, or something like that. It already has a customer name assigned to it.

In other words, the trucks in the field are not for sale.

Used truck prices, according to the August “State of the Industry, US Classes 3-8 Used Trucks” report, were 33% higher this year than at the same period in 2020. At the same time , the average used truck is older and has more miles on the odometer. Inventory is the culprit.

Everything is caused by demand. Freight rates are still at or near record highs, in part due to the lack of trucks available to carry all the freight offered. It is a sellers’ market and carriers are taking the opportunity to demand higher freight rates. Spot rates also remain high for most tracks.

Now is the time for the trucking industry to make money. JB Hunt Transport Services Inc., for example, reported operating revenue of $ 3.14 billion in the third quarter, an increase of 27% from the same quarter of 2020. Similar stories can be found in the entire sector.

When fares are high and freight is plentiful, buyers want more trucks so they can take advantage of the favorable market. Getting these trucks is a problem, especially for those who already have orders.

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