ACT Research: Trailer Orders Up 14% Y/Y, Class 8 Sales Flat M/M

While the preliminary April estimate for the trailer industry was 23,100, ACT Research reported the trailer industry closed April a bit stronger, with just below 24,000 net orders.

“The final result outpaced our preliminary estimate, an indication of the continuing strength in trailer demand, even as we slide from order season to build season,” said Frank Maly, director of CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research.

“Strength continues to be widespread, with only bulk tanks below last year’s volume,” said Maly. “The 17th consecutive month of year-over-year order gains was driven by solid freight demand and high freight rates that both encourage and provide the ability for fleets to continue to invest in equipment.

“While our build plan predictions remain unchanged, they are predicated on adequate component supply,” Maly continued. “We are hearing comments regarding component availability, particularly concern about tires and these concerns are not surprising given that most truck and trailer OEMs are producing close to full capacity.”

Despite short-term stability, used Class 8 truck sales volumes were up 10% year-to-date, according to the latest release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks, published by ACT Research.

The report also indicated that the average price of total used Class 8 trucks rose 2% year over year, while average mileage fell 1% year over year and the average age of used Class 8 trucks dropped 4% compared to the same time in 2017.

“Dealers are reporting that the used truck market has moved from being steady to rolling along quite well,” said Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research. “This is good news for OEMs, suppliers, finance companies and dealers alike.”

Individual market segments yielded mixed results in April. Tam explained, “The retail market segment fell 3% month over month, while the auction and wholesale segments posted increases of 1% and 9%, respectively. On a year-over-year basis, however, all three market channels were in double-digit positive territory. Looking forward, we expect volumes to lose some steam as spring progresses, but for full-year totals to remain at or near current levels.”

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