ACT: Trailer Production Rebound Not Across the Board, Lower Replacement Demand Expected



According to this quarter’s issue of ACT Research’s Trailer Components Report, analysis of the last decade of trailer production shows that the industry opened the year at an average production pace until the shelter-in-place lockdowns began in late Q1/20.

“Although a widespread shutdown of production of both commercial trucks and autos occurred as part of the overall Q2 societal lockdowns, the commercial trailer segment continued to operate, albeit at lower rates,” Frank Maly, director–CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research, said. “After remaining barely positive in April, a soft gain in net orders occurred in May. That was followed by better demand in both June and July; those months exceeded previous year levels.”

Maly also noted, “Despite better order trends, adjustments to production as we moved into summer were a foregone conclusion; the only question was timing. With holiday shutdowns already scheduled in July, OEMs took the opportunity to further extend planned down-time in response to the low orderboards.

“The recent order rebound is extremely dry van centric, so OEMs and component and material suppliers in the dry van and reefer markets will be less impacted than those in the vocational trailer segments. From a timing standpoint, most of the recent order rebound will be more impactful to late Q3 and Q4 volumes.”

When asked about future trailer production, Maly said, “Several non-COVID driven factors will continue to impact trailer volumes over the next few years. The surge of trailer acquisitions in 2017-19 has increased trailers in operation, decreased average life of trailers in use, and more than caught up with delayed replacement of older units. In addition to the market impact of an economy crawling from the worst quarterly performance in history, replacement volumes will also be lower than in recent years.”

ACT Research’s U.S. New Trailer Components and Materials Forecast provides those in the trailer production supply chain, as well as those who invest in said suppliers and commodities, with forecast quantities of components and raw materials required to support the trailer forecast for the coming five years. It includes near-term quarterly predictions for two years, while the latter three years of the forecast are shown in annual details. Additionally, analysis is segmented into two categories: those needed for the structural composition of new trailers and those used in the production of undercarriage assembly.

Additionally, ACT Research has created an easily accessible COVID-19 MARKET WATCH webpage to track noteworthy high frequency macroeconomic and transportation-specific market indicators, which can be found here.

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