May saw ‘significant’ improvement in U.S. trailer orders but number still 71% lower than 2019

Semi with flatbed trailer
Trailer orders in the U.S. showed improvement in May compared to April but are still 71% lower than the same time frame last year.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — May net U.S. trailer orders of 3,107 units were a significant improvement from April, but net orders remain below May 2019’s level, down 71%. Before accounting for cancellations, new orders of 7.4k units for May were up 29% compared to April, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report.

ACT’s U.S. Trailers report provides a monthly review of the current U.S. trailer market statistics, as well as trailer OEM build plans and market indicators divided by all major trailer types, including backlogs, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders and factory shipments.

“Although up from April’s record low, May’s net orders will still rank as the second weakest in industry history. There is little incentive for fleets to invest in new equipment right now,” said Frank Maly, director of commercial-vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT Research.

“While there has been a general reopening of the U.S. economy and some post-quarantine consumer-generated surges have been reported, caution continues to be the watchword,” he continued. “Significant apprehension is being expressed about small-to-medium fleets, and the concern is that the PPP lifelines many may have grasped will run out before a post-lockdown economy generates freight at sufficient volumes and profitable rates, which will have serious implications for both trailer OEMs and dealers.”


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