Trailer orders continue to slide, while production remains robust

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Trailer orders continue to drop, declining for seven consecutive months, according to ACT Research’s Trailer Components Report. The year-over-year slide began at the end of 2018, and preliminary July data shows the trend will continue. “Through June, trailer net orders are down more than 43% year-over-year, and the order-board horizon has remained in the November/December timeframe this entire year,” said Frank Maly, director-CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “Additionally, fleets were clamoring to order additional trailers earlier this year for 2019 delivery, frustrated by a lack of available production slots and OEMs’ unwillingness to accept orders for 2020.”

Maly added that enthusiasm early in the year has been met with “dramatically lackluster response by fleets, catching most OEMs by surprise.” A high number of cancellations have also led to industry backlogs, indicated 2019 could have a weak closing and provide little support for the start of 2020. “Despite the dramatic order weakness, OEMs continue to produce at near-record levels,” said Maly, “and lacking any turnaround in order volume as the year closes, OEMs could reduce those rates further, attempting to stretch existing backlogs until the fleet order pace rebounds.”

As for trailer components, Maly said, “The potential impact of tariffs is the only possible headwind to relatively benign component constraints occurring mid-year.”

As the year progressed, the report indicated there has been less mention of component challenges.

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