Slowdown in trailer orders not indicative of weakening demand

by Truck News

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Orders for new trailers weakened at the end of 2018, but ACT Research says this doesn’t reflect softening demand.

A hot streak for trailers that began in the fall of 2017 came to an end in December 2018, when orders were down 39% from November. But industry analyst ACT Research notes this has to be taken in the context of an historically high backlog.

“At this point, we don’t see softening demand for trailers as the driver of the recent downtick in orders. We’ve heard multiple comments regarding OEMs’ unwillingness to accept additional orders,” said Frank Maly, director, commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “Their concern is the uncertainty regarding material and component pricing for the longer term, which makes trailer pricing decisions difficult. Additional production is being limited by ‘availables,’ meaning available capacity, available labor, and available components and materials.”

Maly also noted weather may have hampered production rates in early 2019, but manufacturers are worried about the availability of undercarriage components such as suspensions and axles.

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