According to ACT Research, trailer industry net orders have eased meaningfully since November of 2018, as year-over-year-comparisons have now been in the red for the last five months. However, ACT said that order weakness is not indicative of fleets’ unwillingness to invest.
“Year-to-date net orders through April were just over 80,000 units, down 37% from last year, but despite this, current orderboards still stretch to nearly year-end for the total industry,” said Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “Order weakness is more a symptom of OEM reticence to fully open 2020 orderboards than fleets’ unwillingness to invest, as we’re hearing of OEMs actively gathering ‘verbal commitments’ for the first half of 2020, with some orders reportedly being posted as ‘price pending.'”
“Softer new orders have been joined by higher cancellations in recent months, despite widespread implementation of cancellation penalties,” Maly added. “However, trailer production continues at robust levels, with March of 2019 as the second highest production month in industry history. ACT anticipates strong production levels through the remainder of this year, but see OEMs continuing to be challenged by component and material issues, as well as staffing.”