Semiconductor shortages Slow truck production
WAlthough many more trucks are needed to handle the freight growth generated by the economic recovery and government stimulus measures, truck production continues to be severely constrained by shortages of semiconductors and various other components, according to the research company FTR.
One of those shortages is in microchips, which has hampered truck production in North America in recent weeks, according to Kevin Baney, CEO of Kenworth.
“This chip shortage is mostly centered in Taiwan, where the bulk of microchips are being made in the wake of the pandemic,” Baney said. However, it was the water damage at the Austin, TX shipping facility from Mexico that ruined entire shipments of chips already shipped to the United States from overseas that created the short-term supply issue we are currently facing. “
There is no clear indication of when the supply chain issues will be resolved, FTR officials said. Over the next few months, computer chips will be scarce and ports will be backed up, according to Don Ake, Vice President of Commercial Vehicles at FTR.
Meanwhile, fleets continue to order in large quantities to secure trucks for future needs.
While preliminary net Class 8 orders in North America for March were down about 10% from February figures, March orders (around 40,000 units) were still up over 33,000. units from March 2020, which was affected by the pandemic, FTR officials said. Orders for Class 8 were 424% higher than in March 2020, ACT officials said.
March was the sixth consecutive month to surpass the record 40,000 units threshold. Class 8 orders now total 372,000 units over the past 12 months.
“There is a huge pent-up demand being generated due to supply restrictions. Market pressure is increasing as orders continue to flow to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) at an all time high. To have this level of orders for six months is impressive and unprecedented, ”said Ake. “It looks like the industry will catch up during the first half of next year.”
Meanwhile, demand for Class 5-7 vehicles is up 19% from February figures to 31,400 units.