FTR reports preliminary trailer orders rose in September, rising 29 percent month over month to 21,500 units. September trailer orders were still down 24 percent from September 2021 levels, and they have totaled 280,000 units for the past 12 months. (Editor's note: FTR initially reported September orders of 12,500 units Monday but corrected that to 21,500 units Wednesday.)
FTR says its research indicates most trailer manufacturers, especially those in the van segments, still must manage production weekly as component shortages continue to hinder production. Even amidst the downward trend seen in orders over the past three months, FTR states build levels on a monthly basis remain strong.
“In the retail market, dealerships still can't keep enough stock to meet demand,” says Charles Roth, commercial vehicle, analyst for FTR. “At the same time, large carriers haven't been able to keep up with replacement cycles, which has driven the level of pent-up demand for new replacement units to above-average levels. While net orders have historically followed a seasonal pattern, the past two years have fundamentally changed how OEMs manage their build slots.
He adds, “Because there are more unknowns about component shortages and future prices, trailer manufacturers are less likely to book build slots as far in advance as they used to. They are trying to avoid having to push orders back or finish units offline as this has impacted not only their operations but also their customers. The low order volumes could be viewed as OEMs filling in the 2023 build slots when they are confident they have the necessary visibility required to fulfill them.”