Trailer orders soft in June, but records may be set in months ahead

by Today's Trucking

June trailer orders remained soften June at 11,100 units according to preliminary data from ACT Research.

That’s a 20% increase from May but 19% off last June.

“While the sequential increase in net orders was certainly welcome, a full response to actual fleet demand would have generated higher order volumes,” said Frank Maly, director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research.  

“Some OEMs, due to their extended backlogs, continue to be unwilling to book meaningful order volumes at this time. June’s negative year-over-year comparison for net orders was the first since May 2020, the tail-end of last spring’s Covid-depressed order activity. These preliminary results point to a backlog that still extends into late Q1 of next year on average, with dry van and reefer backlogs extending into Q2 of 2022 at current production rates.”

ACT noted some OEMs were unable to increase build rates due to ongoing material and staffing shortages.

Meanwhile, FTR reported preliminary orders of 11,000 units, which it says was constrained as manufacturers continue to put off taking additional orders for 2021 delivery. There remain open build slots in the vocational segment, FTR reported.

“The market is in a holding pattern until ordering for 2022 shipments begins. Demand for trailers remains robust, as fleets attempt to move an increasing amount of freight during a shortage of Class 8 trucks. Fleet capacity is extremely tight. Trailer production is also constrained by supply chain disruptions and labor shortages,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice-president – commercial vehicles. 

“Orders are expected to set records once the order boards for 2022 are opened. Trailer demand is expected to be sturdy throughout next year. However, the actual demand for trailers will not be ascertainable until the supply chain problems dissipate. The production situation for early 2022 could be complicated if OEMs cannot build all the orders currently on the books in 2021.” 

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