Trailer order backlog normalizing; demand still excellent in November

Trailer backlog to build ratio

ACT Research reported earlier this week that November U.S. trailer orders were 39,590 units, down 17 percent from a strong October but 22 percent above November 2021. 

The month also was down 27 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, though ACT indicates built slot availability is driving final numbers. 

“Discussions across the past month continue to indicate more OEMs are expanding the availability of 2023 build slots, but 2023 is not yet fully open. Supply-chain concerns still linger, so OEMs are hesitant to overpromise and underdeliver for the second half of 2023, where visibility is limited,” says Jennifer McNealy, director, commercial vehicle Market Research & Publications, ACT Research. “That said, nearly as soon as a build slot is available, there is a fleet ready to fill it with an order.”

McNealy adds backlogs are “resuming growth in line with typical seasonality, as orders flow in as more OEMs open or expand their 2023 build slot offerings. We expect this trend to continue.” She says November activity helped the industry close last month with a 7.9-month backlog-to-build ratio (7.3 months seasonally adjusted), as order intake remained stronger than the uptick in build rates.

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