Trailer orders showed little change in August

ACT August 2023 trailer orders

Preliminary trailer orders for August showed a slight sequential increase but no major change for the market, ACT Research announced Monday.

At 11,500 units, the preliminary net order total was lower against longer-term comparisons. As one of the weakest order months of the year, seasonal adjustment boosts August’s tally to 14,700 units. 

“Preliminary net orders, at 14,700 seasonally adjusted, were 6% lower sequentially,” says Jennifer McNealy, director of CV market research and publications at ACT Research. “With still high backlogs, 2024 orderboards only minimally open, and August as a traditionally weak order month, it remains too soon for robust expectations.”

McNealy says August and summer trailer data continues to provide mixed messages, “with cancellations remaining elevated, driven primarily by the dry van and flatbed segments, even as backlogs remain at healthy levels.”

[RELATED: Class 8 orders up for August]

She says in July the backlog to build ratio was north of six months in aggregate, with some specialty segments having no available build slots until the beginning of 2025.

“Demand may be softening, but it’s not gone. The next few months should provide more illumination on the 2024 outlook, as orders move from the current negotiation stage into booked business,” McNealy says. 

On the backlog, she adds that using preliminary August orders and the corresponding OEM build plans from last month's ACT Research report, “we would expect the trailer backlog to decrease by around 21,700 units to about 135,600 units when complete August data are released. As this number is derived from estimated data, note there will be some variability to reported backlogs when final data are collected.”

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