ACT Research: Preliminary Net Trailer Orders Drop 47% Y/Y in November

According to ACT Research, preliminary net trailer orders decreased nominally from October to November. However, at 20,900 units, preliminary orders were down 47% year over year. ACT Research noted that as we’re still in the peak order season, seasonal adjustment lowers November’s tally to 15,600 units. Final November results will be available later this month. This preliminary market estimate should be within 5% of the final order tally.

“Not only were orders down materially from year-ago levels, but preliminary net orders, at 15,600 seasonally adjusted, were about 41% lower sequentially,” Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT Research, said. “After two months with orders above 30,000 units, it’s certainly disappointing, although not unexpected, to see orders drop, particularly amid a backdrop of weak profitability for truckers and anecdotal commentary from trailer manufacturers who have shared that orders are coming but at a slower pace than they have the last few years.

“We cautioned last month that while positive momentum for the industry, two months of robust orders does not guarantee the full year. Although this supports our thesis that when fleets don’t make money, their ability and/or willingness to purchase equipment is muted, one month of lower orders doesn’t indicate a catastrophic year in the offing either.

“Other indicators being watched closely include cancellations, which have returned to acceptable levels for most segments of the industry, and the backlog-to-build ratio, which in aggregate remains healthy at nearly six months. Some specialty segments have no available build slots until late in 2024 at the earliest.”

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