ACT Research

ACT Research: Preliminary net trailer orders fall, cancellations rise; backlogs still elevated

June 15, 2023
The company's April data reported that even with the slowdown in orders and consistent backlogs, there will be some variability when final data for the month is collected

ACT Research, a market data and analysis company focused on the commercial vehicle and transportation industry, noted that May’s preliminary net trailer orders decreased sequentially. Additionally, net trailer orders were lower against longer-term comparisons, with 9,100 units (11,950 seasonally adjusted) projected to have been booked during the month. Final May results will be available later this month. This preliminary market estimate should be within +/-5% of the final order tally.

“Preliminary net orders were 10% lower compared to April’s intake, and down 54% versus the same month last year,” said Jennifer McNealy, director of CV market research and publications at ACT Research. “Seasonal expectations call for orders to continue their pull back in the coming months, particularly given near record-level order backlogs, as trailer manufacturers normally spend mid-year working down the backlog ahead of the next year’s orderboard opening in the fall.”

McNealy continued, “Albeit against strong comparisons, demand is softening. In addition to the seasonally-anticipated slowing in orders, we’re starting to see increased and broad-based cancellations. That said, backlogs remain robust, so many fleets needing trailers remain in queue for orders already placed, with relative backlog measurements for most trailer categories still near the top of their target ranges.”

Read more: Higher trailer build in 2023 to reduce backlog for 2024: ACT Research

When asked about build and backlog, she commented, “Using preliminary May orders and the corresponding OEM build plans from the May State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report (April data) for guidance, the trailer backlog should decrease by around 19,000 units to about 194,000 units when complete May data are released. That said, with orders being preliminary and the build number a projection, there will be some variability in reported backlogs when final data are collected.”

ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report provides a monthly review of the current US trailer market statistics, as well as trailer OEM build plans and market indicators divided by all major trailer types, including backlogs, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and factory shipments. It is accompanied by a database that gives historical information from 1996 to the present, as well as a ready-to-use graph packet, to allow organizations in the trailer production supply chain, and those following the investment value of trailers, trailer OEMs, and suppliers to better understand the market.

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