Ftr Final Trailers October

FTR: Trailer orders fall as OEMs remain cautious

Nov. 12, 2021
October’s final tally of 16,800 units doesn’t reflect true demand, but rather manufacturers’ concerns about overbooking for 2022

FTR reports final trailer orders dipped in October to 16,800 units amid continuing caution by OEMs about overbooking the first half of 2022.

October orders were -41% month-over-month. The year-over-year comparison of -70% is against the all-time record high in October 2020, FTR said.

Trailer orders for the past 12 months now total 277,000.

A few OEMs had decent order totals, but most held back on slotting their 2022 commitments due to uncertainty about production capability, especially in Q1, as the supply chain remains clogged and labor availability is restricted. The major OEMs are rolling unbuilt 2021 orders into 2022 and filling any gaps with new orders.

“Orders have been tepid all year,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “The challenge for many OEMs is not to acquire more backlog, but to manage the backlog they have. Fleets need lots of new trailers, however, the manufacturers are being careful about how and when to slot these commitments into the build schedule.

“Some OEMs that are booking orders beyond Q1 are utilizing material surcharges in order to price trailers fairly due to commodity prices that are high and volatile. Fleets do want to get their orders scheduled for next year, but that may happen only a month or two at a time.

“October is the traditional start of the fall ordering season for the following year. However, this is far from a normal year. Orders will remain constrained until the supply chain permits OEMs to complete their bookings for 2022.

“Order numbers continue to understate the true demand.”