December 2020 marks a time that most truck dealers didn’t expect to see in the earlier part of the year: strong growth. We have been through the most turbulent and challenging year of our lives. And we’ve risen to the occasion. I’ve told fellow truck dealers that if we showed resilience and optimism through these times, we would be able to look forward to more robust sales ahead. The holiday season is delivering just that.
As of last week, Class 8 orders have surged to their fourth-highest monthly volume ever. This surge is due to a mix of soaring freight rates, fewer available production slots and pent-up demand during the pandemic. ACT research reports that North American orders for Class 8 trucks reached nearly 52,000 in the month of November, marking a 33% increase compared to October and a 197% improvement from this time last year. Overall, Class 8 orders for the past 12 months continue to increase and now stand at 250,000 units.
There is an obvious desire throughout the commercial truck industry to capture a sense of normalcy and make up for the lag in the earlier part of the year. Research also shows that the increase in volume can be credited to several large fleets placing orders for the entirety of 2021, in the event supply becomes short next year. There is also a proactive spirit on the part of all truck dealers to make sure we have the products that our customers need heading into the new year.
While our supply chains are looking better than before, this is not the time to be complacent. Dealers will have a hand in charting our path forward. No matter how strong the current sales forecast is, we must not lose sight of a more critical metric: We must continue to keep our customers, employees, and colleagues safe through a raging pandemic. I urge all ATD members to download important health and safety guidance from NADA's Coronavirus Hub.
There is a wealth of information that will keep your dealership safe, including:
- FAQs: Dealership Health and Safety Concerns During a Pandemic
- Safely Operating your Dealership During a Pandemic Driven Guide
- ATD and NADA Webinars in the Dealership Lifeline Series
On behalf of ATD, I want to acknowledge the men and women of our industry for never giving up, and for protecting the well-being of the people around them. We have been through a crisis, but we’re coming out stronger. Let’s mark 2020 as a year of challenges and forge a better path ahead in the new year!