COLUMBUS, Ind. — According to ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report, clouds on the trailer-market horizon bear watching, while simultaneously recognizing this is the seasonally weakest time of the year for forward-looking metrics.
“As expected, production outpaced orders again in June, dropping trailer backlogs 12% sequentially and 10% year-over-year. Dry van, reefer and flatbed backlogs were down month-over-month, while dumps were higher, as net orders slightly outpaced build in that segment,” said Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT Research.
She explained that “Despite the big sequential drop in trailer backlogs, the seasonally adjusted backlog-to-build ratio shed a modest 20 basis points, to 7.1 months in June from May’s 7.3-month level and 8.5 months from last June. While lower, the current backlog essentially commits the industry into the beginning of 2024.”
Regarding cancellations, McNealy stated: “Fleet commitments remained mixed in June. Total cancels dropped to 2.8% of backlog, from May’s 4.2% rate. OEMs are still reporting that most cancellations are coming from the dealer network, although fleet and model-year cancellation-rebooks are being reported as the 2024 orderboards begin to open and slots get pushed.”
Conversations with industry stakeholders over the past few weeks “revealed that while they remain relatively optimistic about 2024, there was an acknowledgement of increasingly challenging conditions for customers and dealers,” McNealy concluded.
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