ACT: U.S. Trailer Orders Start 2019 Down, Backlog Still Projected



U.S. trailer order volume slid sequentially for the fourth month in a row. However, more than 26,000 net orders were still posted in January, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report.

The report explains that the long-running order stream that started in the fall of 2017 and never really seasonally slid in mid-year is finally running out of steam, but not from lack of demand.

“Two factors are impacting order placement,” said Frank Maly, director, CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. “First, the dramatic surge in orders during the second half of 2018 rapidly filled available 2019 build slots, so few production spots are available, and secondly, just because fleets want to order doesn’t mean OEMs are willing to extend their obligations, given uncertainties of component costs that far into the future.”

Additionally, Maly said, “January’s minor sequential backlog decline was that metric’s first month-over-month slide since June, with net order volume not quite strong enough to outpace build during 2019’s first month, as seven of the ten trailer categories posted sequential backlog declines.”

Further, the report noted that with reefer backlog currently projected to extend into early February of 2020, OEMs would like to increase build rates this year, though cooperation from key component suppliers would be needed.

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