Tight order control continues to be norm for trailer industry

ACT Research net order trailer graph

February net U.S. trailer orders of 27,041 units increased approximately 1percent from the previous month and were 6 percent higher compared to February of 2021, according to this month’s edition of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report.

Before accounting for cancellations, new orders of 28,100 units were virtually unchanged versus January, but up almost 3 percent from the previous February.

“Tight order control, bordering on order allocation, continues to be the norm for the industry. While demand for equipment continues at a torrid pace, OEMs are carefully metering orders to production levels,” says Frank Maly, ACT director, CV transportation analysis and research. 

“Small fleets and dealers continue to struggle to obtain equipment, as discussions point toward larger players willing to make large volume commitments.” Maly says. “Some reports indicate that fleets are willing to make sizeable commitments that would extend well into 2023, but it seems OEMs are not particularly willing to push the orderboard to those extremes. Support from the supply chain, as OEMs attempt to ramp output, will be the controlling factor on any order surge.”

Regarding the backlog-to-build ratio, Maly says, “OEMs have kept this metric in a tight range between 7.4 months and 8.4 months since June. However, February’s 8.1-month level commits the industry into early November, and we will soon be approaching a backlog-to-build ratio that will extend into the new year, where new model years and new pricing commitments could complicate order acceptance.”

ACT Research net order ratio graph

ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report provides a monthly review of the current U.S. trailer market statistics, as well as trailer OEM build plans and market indicators divided by all major trailer types, including backlogs, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders and factory shipments.        

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