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ACT Research: U.S. Trailer Orders Close 2021 16% Lower Than 2020

January 26, 2022, 07:00 AM
Filed Under: Trucking

December net U.S. trailer orders of 26,382 units decreased nearly 18 percent from the previous month and were nearly 41 percent lower than December 2020. Before accounting for cancellations, new orders of 28,500 units were down about 16 percent versus November, and almost 39 percent 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 percent and 15 percent lower, respectively, compared to 2020, which included the COVID-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,” said Frank Maly, Director–CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. He continued, “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 added, “OEMs continue to struggle to ramp their activity, hampered by both supply-chain issues and staffing challenges. Which one is generating the most pain? 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.”

He concluded, “The 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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