ACT Research: US Net Trailer Orders Up 93% Y/Y in May, Largely Unchanged M/M

According to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer report., May net U.S. trailer orders of 19,445 units were virtually unchanged compared to April, falling just 0.8% month over month. However, May’s order numbers were 93% higher compared with May of 2021.

“Order placement remained choppy in May, with dry vans up 32% [month over month] and bulk tank 42% [month over month] higher, responsible for the total industry uptick,” Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT Research, said. “OEMs continue to negotiate with fleets and that effort is building a large group of staged/planned orders that are not yet officially posted to the backlog. Once OEMs gain sufficient confidence in their availability to open 2023 production slots, expect a surge of orders to be ‘officially’ accepted.”

“The industry has normally not been willing to push commitments past 12 months, nor open a new calendar year this early in the preceding year, but recent years, including the pandemic-battered 2020/21, have been anything but normal. We expect some OEMs to begin considering longer orderboards with appropriate cost/price protections.”

“The orderboard slid sequentially again in May, the second month-over-month decline in backlog since last October. Dry vans, platforms and lowbeds all shared responsibility for the slide, with the backlog for tanks, both liquid and bulk, growing. Expect backlog to contract as we move through early summer and for this trend to reverse when 2023 orderboards are fully opened.”

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