ACT Research: Industry Sets All-Time Annual Net Order Record in 2018

ACT’s preliminary estimate for December 2018 net trailer orders is 27,800 units. Final volume will be available later this month. Our methodology allows us to generate a preliminary estimate of the market that should be within +/- 3% of the final order tally.

“Considering the long-running order strength, December’s pause was not entirely surprising, with net orders down 39% from November, as well as from December 2017. Just as dry vans contributed to the long-term order upswing throughout the year, they also contributed significantly to the year-ending softness,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV Transportation Analysis & Research. “While some fleets likely stepped back to assess their 2019 investment plans, our discussions also indicate that some of the slide occurred as OEMs resisted booking additional orders into already-extended backlogs that might have pushed their commitments into 2020,” he added.

Maly also noted, “Full-year results indicated just how robust current fleet investment plans are, as the industry set an all-time record for annual net orders last year. More than 420,000 orders were booked in 2018, up 35% from 2017. Most trailer categories posted year-over-year gains, with reefers posting an industry-leading gain of almost 90% versus 2017.” The industry enters 2019 with the highest orderboard in history, committing dry vans and reefers well into Q4’19, which pushes the overall industry average into early Q4. Vocational trailer categories have shorter, but very solid horizons.

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