October was another good month for trailer orders. ACT Research announced Thursday preliminary net trailer orders last month increased nominally to 35,300 units. Though this was down 26% year over year, ACT Research says, seasonally adjusted orders were still above replacement demand at 26,200 units.
“Preliminary net orders, at 26,200 seasonally adjusted, were about 9% lower sequentially,” says Jennifer McNealy, director CV market research and publications at ACT Research. “While this certainly continues the positive momentum for the industry that began last month, two months of robust orders does not guarantee the full year. It’s still early in the new year order season to call.”
She continues, “The data continue to provide mixed messages, with cancellations remaining elevated, driven primarily by the platform and tank segments, even as backlogs remain at healthy levels in general and particularly in the specialty segments. The backlog to build ratio was well north of five months in aggregate, with some specialty segments having no available build slots until late in 2024 at the earliest. We’ve been hearing that order discussions were occurring, and it looks like quotations continue to convert to ‘booked’ business.”
When asked about the backlog’s trajectory, McNealy says, “Using preliminary October orders and the corresponding OEM build plans from the October State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report (September data) for guidance, we would expect the trailer backlog to increase by around 7,300 units to about 146,100 units when complete October 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.”