Preliminary Net Trailer Orders Indicate Strong Demand Continues

According to ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report, February’s preliminary net trailer orders increased sequentially but were lower against longer-term comparisons, with 25,800 units (25,600 seasonally adjusted) projected to have been booked during the month. Final February results will be available later this month and the preliminary market estimate should be within 5% of the final order tally.

“Preliminary net orders were more than 6% higher compared to January’s intake, but about 5% lower against the same month last year,” Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT Research, said. “The decline versus last year can largely be chalked up to backlog length. Trailer backlogs at the start of 2023 are 50,000 units above year-ago levels. February’s preliminary data show orders for dry vans and platform trailers driving the sequential uptick.

“While demand remains strong, we’re also seeing improved, albeit still challenged, build data. While we are still waiting for February data, January’s backlog-to-build ratio, a proxy for industry demand strength was nearly 10 months, roughly double the historical average. That means fleets needing trailers will need to maintain their patience.

“Using preliminary February orders and the corresponding OEM build plans from the February State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report (January data) for guidance, the trailer backlog should decrease by around 1,100 units when complete February data are released. That said, with orders being preliminary and the build number a projection, there will be some variability in reported backlogs when final data are collected.”

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