ACT: March trailer demand drops amid funding constraints, looming regulations

Trailer net orders and cancellation rates for March 2024 from ACT Research

March net trailer orders were down nearly 25% year-over-year, ACT Research says, to 13,600 units, 7,000 units below last month. 

[RELATED: ACT Research shows Class 8 orders indicate possible market turn]

"Seasonally adjusted, March's orders were 13,800 units compared to a 20,200 seasonally adjusted rate in February," says Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT. "On that basis, orders decreased 32% month-over-month. Dry van orders contracted 28% year-over-year, with reefers up 6% and flats 40% lower compared to March 2023." 

Cancellations were also up to 2.3% of the backlog with seven of 10 markets above the 1% mark. 

"Capex remains constrained, and this means fleets are forced to make even more difficult decisions about how to spend their money. In the current carrier profit trough, the decision is compounded by the impending EPA regulations for power units, which are expected to have materially higher costs," McNealy adds. "Softer fleet demand isn't the only thing weighing on the minds of trailer manufacturers, though, as elevated dealer inventories have resulted in waning demand there, too." 

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