COLUMBUS, Ind. – COVID-19’s impact was felt in 2021 as the numbers of trailer orders were lower compared to 2020, according to ACT Research.
December net U.S. trailer orders of 26,382 units decreased nearly 18% from the previous month and were nearly 41% lower compared to December of 2020.
Before accounting for cancellations, new orders of 28,000 units were down about 16% versus November, and almost 39% lower than the previous December, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report.
For the full year, net orders and new orders were 16% and 15% lower, respectively, compared to 2020, which included the coronavirus-stricken spring timeframe.
“The 2021 order season softness resulted from the conservative order acceptance stance in the dry van and reefer categories, which more than offset improvement in the vocational segments,” Frank Maly, director of CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research, said. “With no indication of meaningful improvement in production levels in the near future, we expect the industry to continue on this pattern for the foreseeable future. Fleets will continue to struggle to find new equipment and allocation of production, and correspondingly order volume, will likely be the story for both fleet customers and the dealer channel.”
Maly said that OEMs are continuing to struggle as far as ramping up their activity while being hampered by both supply-chain issues and staffing challenges.
“Which one is generating the most pain?” Maly said. “Well, that seems to be a moving comparison, with some contacts indicating supply-chain disruptions rule, while others point to staffing. The latter ranges from consistent attendance, efforts to increase the workforce or a combination of the two. Both will continue to impede meaningful increases in production volumes in the short-to-medium term.”
Maly said the end result is that 2021 closed with an 8.0-month backlog-to-build ratio, which means industry production is committed, on average, through August at current build rates.
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