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January 2021: Truck Sales Go Every Which Way

ACT and FTR differ on their numbers for Class 8 truck sales by a few hundred each month, but their general messages are the same. This prior month’s message being that the trucking industry is cooling off from the holiday season, but still shows promise of being on fire.

The Numbers

ACT has sales for January set at 42,200; FTR, 42,800. This is smaller than the general approximation of about 52,000 that occurred in December 2020, but far above and beyond what the sales numbers in January 2020 at approximately 18,000.

Not bad, considering we are technically still in a once-in-a-century global pandemic.

Things took a gloomier turn in FTR’s report when Don Ake says there may be a supply-side issue with truck sales to come in the next couple of months.

“Currently there are shortages of raw materials and component parts, which will result in supply being unable to meet the demand of Class 8 trucks in the short-term,” he says. “Class 8 suppliers are working diligently to ramp up production but are hindered by the pandemic and material shortages. In addition, imported parts deliveries are being delayed up to two weeks at the ports.”

If what the vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR says is true, we can expect used trucks to somewhat absorb the excess demand not being fulfilled by new truck manufacturing.


FTR also keeps a rolling total for the last 12 months of sales. Due to January 2021 rising above its 2020 counterpart, the total has increased to 308,000.

What will be very interesting to see is what the next four months have in regards to truck sales. Around this time a year ago, the world was just entering the global COVID-19 pandemic. With only 5,000 new Class 8 truck sales in April of that year, things are looking up for the total rolling average to sharply increase.

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