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ACT: Trailers finish 2011 strong; used trucks lag

Net orders for total trailers grew 38 percent year-over-year, while build jumped 69 percent for the month. ACT reported in its latest State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers.

The Trucker News Services

1/30/2012

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The commercial trailer sector ended 2011 on solid footing and is well positioned for the third year of growth in the current cyclical recovery, while the used truck market continued to struggle — that’s according to a pair of December reports from ACT Research Co.

Net orders for total trailers grew 38 percent year-over-year, while build jumped 69 percent for the month. ACT reported in its latest State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers.

“Following some mid-year sponginess, the trailer industry ended 2011 on a particularly strong note. Orders in December were a virtual duplication of November’s five-year high, backlogs rose to their highest level this cycle, and cancellations were virtually non-existent,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT. “Rising backlogs and low levels of cancellation activity speak to the strength of demand at the start of 2012.”

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Reported volumes of used Classes 3-8 truck sales, meanwhile, reversed their slide into negative territory in December. Volumes were consistent among channels on a sequential basis, ACT said.

All three segments — auction, retail and wholesale — saw improvement relative to November’s activity. However, all three segments continued to lag on a year-over-year basis. The update on the used truck market was reported in the latest release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks.

“The industry continues to look to improving new truck sales to provide some much needed relief for the used truck inventory shortage,” said Steve Tam, vice president-commercial vehicle sector with ACT. “Concerning pricing, our expectation remains unchanged. We believe year-over-year pricing growth will continue to slow. Prices will not necessarily fall, but just grow at a slower rate.”

The report from ACT provides data on the average used price for the top-selling Class 8 model for each of the major truck OEMs. For subscription information to the full report, please go to the ACT website.

ACT publishes new and used commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China CV market.

Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at kevinj@thetrucker.com.

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JB Hunt