U.S. trailer orders fell slightly in January, but still posted 26,000 net orders in the month, according to the latest data from ACT Research Co. According to ACT, the long-running order stream that started in the fall of 2017 is finally running out of steam, but not from lack of demand.
ACT also noted that with reefer backlog currently projected to extend into early February of 2020, OEMs would like to increase build rates this year, but cooperation from key component suppliers will be needed. Overall, the total industry backlog approaches Thanksgiving of this year.
“Two factors are impacting order placement,” said Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “First, the dramatic surge in orders during the second half of 2018 rapidly filled available 2019 build slots, so few production spots are available, and secondly, just because fleets want to order doesn’t mean OEMs are willing to extend their obligations, given uncertainties of component costs that far into the future.
“January’s minor sequential backlog decline was that metric’s first month-over-month slide since June, with net order volume not quite strong enough to outpace build during 2019’s first month, as seven of the ten trailer categories posted sequential backlog declines,” he added.