Not so long ago, forecasts for the 2020 truck and trailer market were that we should expect a “correction.” The strong 2019 market began to lose its luster in the final months of the year and opened 2020 as expected, without a bang. But how much worse it has actually become, could not have been forecasted. The unprecedented COVID-19 issues have taken the trucking industry and the whole world into unknown territory. Be ready for rescheduled events, including the International Roadcheck Inspection that was set for May 5-7, now postponed until a time later in the year when safe for all parties to interact again. This inspection has run as scheduled for 32 years. Of course, the daily safety and traffic enforcement will continue to be conducted, with enforcement personnel following their departmental health and safety procedures accordingly. However, other safety initiatives are still on the calendar at this time, (Operation Safe Driver Week July 12-18 and Brake Safety Week Aug 23-29) but one would be best advised to keep a close watch on dates changing.
Some highlights of truck and trailer sales
- Sales for December 2019: Class 8 sales were 23,119 units to end the year. Class 7 were 5,359, Class 6 with 5,893 and Class 3, 4 and 5 were a combined total of 49,023 units. That dropped dramatically by January’s count, this before the COVID-19 chokehold really even came into effect.
- Sales for January 2020: Class 7 were 4,179, Class 6 with 3,961 and a combined total for 3, 4 and 5 were 17,943 units. Class 8 sales were 15,645 units. Freightliner was at the top with 6,060 units; Peterbilt was next with 2,669 units; Kenworth next with 2,078 units; International with 1,939 units; Volvo next with 1,468 units; Mack with 977 units and Western Star with 441 units
- Starting 2020, we find the equipment markets are in transition. Class 8 OEMs are notably reeling back production as they adjust to lower orders and weak backlogs.
- Intermodal volume visibly decreasing across the nation, showing more of the supply chain disruption
- US Trailer orders of 7,595 units were down in March over 43% month over month
- Class 8 net orders are dropping to their lowest seen in a decade.
As we are still waiting to hit that “peak” for the COVID-19 pandemic, nationwide we are definitely seeing the economic woes. Government infusion of stimulus packages and proposals can be a positive factor as long as there is enough to go around, and not impossible to acquire. But even so, forecasters think the benefits will not show until 3rd quarter possibly even the 4th quarter. Economists have suggested a recession shaped like a W. We have been descending, and where the bottom is, is still unclear. The next leg upwards will depend on people going back to work and the supply chain begins to mend. Potential problems in the supply chain would make up the next leg down. From there a slow but steady upwards climb potentially taking us into next year. Until then, many manufacturers are still closed, anxiously wondering what their best option is to re-open which will not be as easy as flipping a switch. Health and safety equipment may have to be part of everyone’s re-open plan since its obvious this virus is not just going to go away.
DuraBrake is open for business while working to keep our employees and customers safe. We have parts in stock in our 5 North America warehouses. If there is anything you need do not hesitate to contact us. Together we will get through this tough time.