Trailer orders spike in September but OEMs remain cautious

by Today's Trucking

Trailer orders more than doubled in September, to just more than 28,000 units, as some manufacturers began taking orders for 2022.

ACT Research reported 28,127 units, up 126% from August but more than 45% lower year over year.

“September total net trailer orders grew mainly as the result of a 268% month over month surge in dry van orders for the month, as some 2022 orderbooks were very cautiously cracked open,” said Frank Maly, director – commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “It appears that OEMs are being extremely careful regarding acceptance of additional orders, although the caution is more centered in the higher-volume dry van, reefer, and flatbed categories.”

Maly added, “Dry van and reefer OEMs are trying to walk a very delicate line, setting their pricing in a very challenging inflationary environment while also balancing production commitments with component and material availability and staffing concerns. Staffing seems to have become a more challenging issue for the industry. Adds to staff are very difficult, while consistent attendance of existing staff is also reported to be problematic.”

FTR reported 28,300 orders, attributing them to large fleets securing 2022 build slots.

“The supply chain bottlenecks which hampered production throughout 2021 will, unfortunately, continue into 2022. Trailer OEMs are facing shortages of over two dozen components including steel, aluminum, rubber products, wood flooring, wiring harnesses, and plastic parts, etc. The supply chain is now expected to improve only at a modest pace throughout 2022,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice-president – commercial vehicles.

“Fleets are desperate for new trailers. There are reports from the field of trailers breaking down because they are being run for an extended time due to the shortage of new trailers. The pent-up demand is growing every month, so when the trailer OEMs are finally able to ramp up production, they will be under pressure to produce at elevated rates for an extended time.”

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