New U.S. trailer orders of 14,800 were up 7% month-over-month, and after accounting for cancellations, net orders of 10,600 hit their second sequential increase in nine months, rising 2% from July, but down 72% compared to August of 2018, according to ACT Research. Year-to-date, however, net trailer orders are 51% below last year, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report.
“With 2020 orderboards fully open, the dramatic lack of fleet interest continues to astound,” said Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “Uncertainty breeds inaction, and many factors are pushing fleets to observe the market from the sidelines. Poor financials, the result of lower freight demand and weak rates, portend a challenging financial road ahead, while more general economic uncertainties generate additional headwinds.
“New orders are being placed at half the pace of January, while cancellations are nearly double the unit volume but more than three times the rate to the backlog of Q1,” Maly went on. “Fleets are unwilling to commit investment for next year, while still adjusting this year’s spending. Reports indicate that some orders were actually cancel/reorders, effectively pushing late ’19 volume into next year, sometimes at OEM request.”