COLUMBUS, Ind. — October’s preliminary net trailer orders increased nominally from September to October, at 35,300 units, but were lower compared to last October, down more than 26% year-over-year, according to ACT Research.
“As we’re still in the opening of peak order season, seasonal adjustment (SA) lowers October’s SA tally to 26,200 units,” an ACT news release stated.
Final October results will be available later this month. This preliminary market estimate should be within +/-5% of the final order tally.
“Preliminary net orders, at 26,200 seasonally adjusted, were about 9% lower sequentially,” said Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT Research. “While this certainly continues the positive momentum for the industry that began last month, two months of robust orders does not guarantee the full year. It’s still early in the new year order season to call.”
McNealy said that the data continue to provide mixed messages, with cancellations remaining elevated, driven primarily by the platform and tank segments, even as backlogs remain at healthy levels in general and particularly in the specialty segments.
“The BL/BU ratio (large backlogs and growing lead times) was well north of five months in aggregate, with some specialty segments having no available build slots until late in 2024 at the earliest,” McNealy said. “We’ve been hearing that order discussions were occurring, and it looks like quotations continue to convert to ‘booked’ business.”
When asked about the backlog’s trajectory, McNealy said: “Using preliminary October orders and the corresponding OEM build plans from the October State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report (September data) for guidance, we would expect the trailer backlog to increase by around 7,300 units to about 146,100 units when complete October data are released. As this number is derived from estimated data, note there will be some variability to reported backlogs when final data are collected.”
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.