March trailer orders dip, backlog eases

U.S. trailer orders dropped to a projected 16,800 units this March, 33% lower than February totals and down 56% compared to March 2022.

“Orders pulling back in March is a month earlier than normal seasonality would suggest, but near record-level order backlogs are easy to point to in explaining away the earlier-than-expected deceleration,” said ACT Research director – CV market research and publications Jennifer McNealy, releasing the results.

U.S. trailer orders graph
(Graph: ACT Research)

“Despite March’s drop in orders, we believe demand remains healthy and we’re seeing improved, albeit still somewhat challenged, build data. While we are still waiting for March data, February’s backlog-to-build ratio, a proxy for industry demand strength, was 8.5 months, significantly higher than the historical average. That means fleets needing trailers will need to maintain their patience.”

Based on the preliminary March orders and OEM build plans, trailer backlogs should drop 12,000 units to a total of 230,000 units, ACT Research estimates.

“That said, with orders being preliminary and the build number a projection, there will be some variability in reported backlogs when final data are collected,” she added.

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