ACT is reporting its preliminary estimate for April 2019 net trailer orders is 14,500 units.
Final volume will be available later this month. The company says its methodology allows it to generate a preliminary estimate of the market that should be within +/- 3% of the final order tally.
The latest figure indicates net orders for April are down 7% month-over-month and 38% year-over-year. The 14,500 units is the lowest order volume since July 2017, ACT said.
“Order volume was soft in April for the second straight month,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research. “Several factors appear to be in play. OEMs continue to be reticent to fully open 2020 orderboards. This is evident in our measurement of the extent of the industry’s backlog, which has remained in the November or December timeframe throughout the first four months of 2019.
“While we hear comments of some fleets anxiously awaiting the chance to snap up 2020 build slots, some also appear to be evaluating their existing commitments. Cancellations in April were the highest since August 2016 on both a unit and percent of backlog basis, and have remained elevated since December. That resulted in an interesting dichotomy in April orders; while new orders were actually up versus March, cancellations were significant enough to pull the net order number into the red month-over-month.”
While down slightly from March, production continues at a brisk pace, ACT said, although material/component availability and staffing continue to challenge OEMs. Seasonal patterns actually called for a slight increase for April production, so that small sequential decline likely confirms the impact of the aforementioned headwinds.
Additionally, the company said its discussions indicate red-tagged units continue to challenge OEM production efficiency.