December trailer orders significantly lower than last year

December trailer orders significantly lower than last year

December’s preliminary net trailer orders increased nominally from November, according to ACT Research.

December’s preliminary net trailer orders increased nominally from November, but at 24,300 units, orders were down nearly 58% compared to December 2022, ACT Research reported. This is during the peak order season, meaning when you factor in a seasonal adjustment, December’s tally drops considerably, to 17,200 units. Still, that’s 10% higher than what was seen for November.

“After a disappointing, although not unexpected, drop last month, December’s preliminary net orders aligned with less-than-stellar expectations, particularly amid a backdrop of weak profitability for truckers and anecdotal commentary from trailer manufacturers who have shared that orders are coming but at a slower pace than they have the last few years,” Jennifer McNealy, director CV market research and publications at ACT Research.

She continued, “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 either, simply the slowest December we’ve seen since before the pandemic began.”

McNealy added, “Other indicators being watched closely include cancellations, which oscillated above comfortable levels for most segments in December, and the backlog-to-build ratio, which in aggregate is weakening, now around five months. However, some specialty segments have no available build slots until late in 2024 at the earliest, while others are in the three-month range.”

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