ACT Research: Trailer orders dip as cancellations climb

ACT Research: Trailer orders dip as cancellations climb

Preliminary data for net trailer orders in January seems to follow a continued softening trend, according to ACT Research.

According to ACT Research, January’s preliminary net trailer orders dropped slightly from December, but at just 13,700 units, orders were down nearly 43% compared to January 2023. ACT says we’re still in peak order season for trailers, and when January’s numbers undergo seasonal adjustment (SA), the preliminary total lowers to 12,400 units.

“With the pent-up demand enjoyed by the industry during the past few years largely extinguished, a softer opening to 2024 meets expectations,” said Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT Research. “Net orders are being challenged by a backdrop of weak profitability for for-hire truckers, and anecdotal commentary from trailer manufacturers throughout the past several months have been indicating this slowing, as they have shared that orders are coming but not at the same rapid pace that they have the last few years.

“This month’s results continue to support our thesis that when fleets don’t make money, their ability and/or willingness to purchase equipment is muted. That said, the lower orders don’t indicate a catastrophic year in the offing, simply one that is on target to be less stellar than we’ve seen recently,” continued McNealy.

“Another indicator being watched closely is cancellations, which oscillated above comfortable levels for most segments in January. While the industry’s largest segments are under pressure, some specialty segments have no available build slots until late in 2024 at the earliest, while others are in the three-month range,” she added.

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