Nearly half of manufacturers and distributors of work trucks saw orders decline by 11 percent or more in the second quarter, according to NTEA, The Association for the Work Truck Industry.
NTEA issued its Business Condition Survey, normally distributed in the second quarter covering first-quarter data, as a special edition, reporting on second-quarter data in order to address ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The report suggests that the pandemic pushed already low expectations for 2020 even lower. Second-quarter orders fell more than 20 percent for 22 percent of respondents, and only 29 percent of survey participants registered orders increases.
Second-quarter chassis sales fell just 10 percent as compared to first-quarter 2020. But they dropped 30.9 percent as compared to the second quarter of 2019. Through July, chassis sales were down 22.9 percent.
Classes 2, 3, and 8 have the longest chassis lead times, according to the report, with Classes 4 and 5 not far behind. Class 6–7 lead times are less than 15 weeks on average, which is similar to pickups, vans, and tractors. Some survey participants indicated their suppliers estimate it will take more than 50 weeks to deliver new orders. In addition, OEM factory shutdowns in the early months of the pandemic have further pushed back delivery time for orders placed before the onset of the pandemic.
Although order cancellations were not as bad as expected, new orders were down from the previous quarter. Almost half of participating companies had backlogs of less than one month as of July, and only 24 percent had backlogs of four or more months.
When asked to identify areas of greatest concern going forward, 27 percent of respondents pointed to the U.S. economy. Twenty-two percent reported supply chains and customer orders as a key concern, while 17 percent cited health and safety of employees and families. Another 14 percent were focused on chassis availability.