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ACT Research: Preliminary Net Trailer Orders Indicate Slowdown Continues

June 18, 2024, 07:00 AM
Filed Under: Trucking

Preliminary net trailer orders dropped nominally from April to May, and at 6,000 units, were lower compared to last May, down 46 percent year/year. Seasonal adjustment (SA) at this point in the cycle boosts May’s tally to 7,100 units. Final May results will be available later this month.

“A year ago, we knew that with pent-up demand beginning to wane and supply-chain congestion, for the most part, cleared, 2024 order activity would be slower compared to 2023,” said Jennifer McNealy, Director CV Market Research & Publications at ACT Research. “With continuing weak for-hire truck market fundamentals, and already-filled dealer inventories, it looks like trailer demand will remain restrained for some time. For orders, we are now in the weaker months of the annual cycle, suggesting that there is no catalyst for stronger orders until the fall and the opening of 2025 orders.”

She continued, “While we do see fleets starting to make more money later this year, thereby increasing their ability to purchase equipment, the impact likely will be muted for the trailer industry, as we continue to expect their willingness to spend will lean toward the purchase of new power units ahead of the EPA’s implementation of 2027 regulations, which we believe has already begun.”

McNealy added, “Industry anecdotes suggest that the ‘pause button’ is expected to remain pressed in 2024. The industry’s largest segments remain under pressure, cancellations remain elevated as dealers and fleets recalibrate their needs, and external forces like the US presidential election and interest rates remain on the closely watched list.”

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