COLUMBUS, Ind. — Like in most any other industry in the world, the COVID-19 Delta variant has created some hiccups in the economics of trucking, with build rates down and supply chains constrained, according to a news release from ACT Research.
ACT’s most recent State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales and general state of the on-road heavy and medium duty commercial vehicle markets in North America.
Speaking about the supply chain, Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s president and senior analyst, said, “While ‘semiconductors’ has become the generic reference for the supply chain’s shortcomings, in actuality there are scores of parts that continue to be impacted — by the pandemic, by the lingering impact of steel tariffs and even by the February storm that incapacitated Texas and shutdown swathes of the U.S. plastics industry for two-plus quarters. Like the supply chains themselves, the issues are not only domestic and not only commercial vehicle.”
Vieth further stated that while “semiconductors might be masking other component issues … they are at the heart of the supply chain’s inability to ramp production. Recent news indicates that COVID outbreaks shut down silicon wafer and sub-assembly plants in Southeast Asia, representing another nail in the coffin of a nearer-term recovery in supply. Even as new ‘fab’ capacity is coming online this year and next, global automotive industry shutdown announcements have become weekly occurrences.”
Regarding commercial vehicle segments, Vieth commented, “After three months in which vehicle orders fell below earlier-in-the-year levels, medium- and heavy-duty orders each rose to a five-month high in August, reiterating the notion that full backlogs and not a lack of demand were responsible for order weakness.”