Trailer order slide continued in May

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Updated Jun 20, 2024
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Preliminary net trailer orders fell again last month as the market continues to scuffle. 

ACT Research says its May order total was down nominally from April and off 46% year over year, though seasonal adjustment does boost May’s tally to 7,100 units.

“A year ago, we knew that with pent-up demand beginning to wane and supply-chain congestion, for the most part, cleared, 2024 order activity would be slower compared to 2023,” says Jennifer McNealy, director, CV Market Research & Publications at ACT Research. “With continuing weak for-hire truck market fundamentals, and already-filled dealer inventories, it looks like trailer demand will remain restrained for some time. For orders, we are now in the weaker months of the annual cycle, suggesting that there is no catalyst for stronger orders until the fall and the opening of 2025 orders.”

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McNealy says ACT does see fleets starting to make more money later this year, thereby increasing their ability to purchase equipment, but the impact “likely will be muted for the trailer industry,” as most dollars will likely be allocated to the purchase of new power units ahead of the EPA’s implementation of 2027 regulations, which the company believes has already begun.

“Industry anecdotes suggest the ‘pause button’ is expected to remain pressed in 2024,” McNealy says. “The industry’s largest segments remain under pressure, cancellations remain elevated as dealers and fleets recalibrate their needs, and external forces like the U.S. presidential election and interest rates remain on the closely watched list.”

ACT May 2024 trailer orders

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