ACT Research
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ACT: U.S. trailer orders open 2022 low

March 7, 2022
January bookings of 26,595 units indicate OEMs are carefully managing order acceptance to prevent ‘untenable backlog growth’

January net U.S. trailer orders of 26,595 units increased less than 1% from the previous month and were more than 15% lower compared to January 2021, according to the latest issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer report.

Before accounting for cancellations, new orders of 28,000 units were down about 2% vs. December, and almost 15% lower than the previous January, ACT said.

“The effort that OEMs have made to prevent untenable backlog growth through controlling order acceptance continues. That effort has been highly driven through dry vans and reefers,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research. “Expect the conservative order acceptance stance to continue for the near term; until meaningful production increases can be implemented, this will be status quo.

“Allocation of production between fleets and dealers will continue to be the norm, with dealers, and correspondingly their small to medium fleet customer base, likely more significantly challenged.”

On the backlog-to-build ratio, Maly said: “A slight increase in backlog. A slight decrease in production rates. Those calculate to a slight increase in backlog-to-build at the close of January. The 8.3-month level for total trailers commits the industry into very early Q4 2022 at current build rates, and this is the highest level since last June.

“We would expect this metric to remain stubbornly high, and it could also be approaching the Christmas timeframe sometime in Q2, projecting an early calendar-year 2022 sell-out.”

The U.S. Trailer report provides a monthly review of the current U.S. trailer market statistics, as well as trailer OEM build plans and market indicators divided by all major trailer types, including backlogs, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and factory shipments.

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