U.S. Trailer Orders Close Up 35%, Setting Annual Record in 2018



U.S. trailer order volume slid sequentially for the third month in a row, but the industry still posted nearly 28,000 net orders in December, according to the ACT Research 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.

“While some fleets may have stepped back to better assess the market, indications are that there was still significant interest in placing orders,” said Frank Maly, director of CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. “However, it takes two to tango, and there were indications of OEM resistance to add to the record-setting backlog. Comments included an unwillingness to accept orders that would extend commitments deeper into 2019, or even into 2020, driven by a lack of long lead-time component pricing to support price quotes.”

Maly added, “The seasonal order softness has resulted in a bit of a dichotomy for backlogs. Orders were sufficient enough to push the year-end orderboard to just under 247,000 units not seasonally adjusted, but that’s much less improvement than normally occurs at year-end. And while we have a couple of different ways to measure it, the method isn’t as important as is the fact that the industry is already committed through most of 2019.”

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