COLUMBUS, Ind. — Peak order season opened in September, and although net orders in November continued to show relatively healthy bookings, they were softer than the previous two months.
Unlike the last few years with challenges solidly on the supply-side of the pendulum, trailer industry concerns now rest on the demand-side, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report.
November net orders, at 21,100 units, were 47% lower year-over-year, and more than 14,000 units less than were booked in October.
“With 35% of the year’s orders historically booked in Q4, the quarter’s seasonal factors run roughshod on the nominal data. Seasonally adjusted, November’s orders reduce to 15,700 units. On that basis, orders decreased 40% m/m,” said Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT Research. “Regarding orders and expectations for 2024, trailer manufacturers reinforced this month what they have been telling us for a while: negotiations are ongoing, but order placement is at a slower pace than what occurred the past few years.”
Regarding build, she added, “November’s per day build rate decreased 3% to 1,178 from October’s 1,220-unit per day rate. Overall, build was more than 12% lower month-over-month, mostly due to two fewer build days in November. Supply-chain issues have essentially normalized, with OEMs reporting smaller, less impactful disruptions.”
Despite being in the third month of the new peak order season, McNealy said that build outpaced orders in November by about 2,500 units.
Trailer backlogs contracted 32% against 2022’s supply-chain constrained and pent-up demand heavy environment.
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.