January net U.S. trailer orders of 26,595 units increased less than 1 percent from the previous month and were more than 15 percent lower compared to January of 2021, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report.
Before accounting for cancellations, new orders of 28,000 units were down about 2 percent versus December, and almost 15 percent lower than the previous January, ACT reports.
“The effort that OEMs have made to prevent untenable backlog growth through controlling order acceptance continues. That effort has been highly driven through dry vans and reefers,” says Frank Maly, ACT director – CV transportation analysis and research.
“Expect the conservative order acceptance stance to continue for the near term. Until meaningful production increases can be implemented, this will be status quo. Allocation of production between fleets and dealers will continue to be the norm, with dealers, and correspondingly their small to medium fleet customer base, likely more significantly challenged,” Maly says.
Regarding the backlog-to-build ratio, he says, “A slight increase in backlog. A slight decrease in production rates. Those calculate to a slight increase in backlog-to-build at the close of January. The 8.3-month level for total trailers commits the industry into very early 4Q22 at current build rates, and this is the highest level since last June. We would expect this metric to remain stubbornly high, and it could also be approaching the Christmas timeframe sometime in Q2, projecting an early calendar-year 2022 sell-out.”