Trailer net orders closed on a softer note, with OEMs booking 26,600 units in December 2021,...

Trailer net orders closed on a softer note, with OEMs booking 26,600 units in December 2021, down 17% compared to November.

Graph: ACT Research

Net trailer orders in closed on a softer note, with OEMs booking around 26,500 units in December 2021.

Orders were between 17% and 18% lower than November 2021 and between 40% and 42% below 2020’s volume, according to ACT Research and FTR, respectively.

The decline is attributed to supply chain disruptions, a labor shortage, and OEMs having to continue to manage backlogs build up due to part and component availability.

“OEMs cautiously began to accept additional orders in September. That careful posture continued through the remainder of the year,” said Frank Maly, director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT Research, in a press release. “OEMs continue to balance staffing and supply-chain challenges as they seek to ramp production volumes to better fulfill fleet equipment demands.”

Order volume was very close to the average of the previous three months, and liquid tank trailer orders remained sturdy, according to FTR.

“The trailer market has settled into a pattern similar to Class 8 trucks,” Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, said. “Orders have now averaged 26,000 units for the past four months, only a few thousand more than monthly production. That means backlogs have only gone up 6% despite there being tremendous demand for new trailers. You won’t see the order numbers consistently rise until there are ample parts to support significantly higher production.”

ACT Research’s preliminary report puts the full-year 2021 net trailer orders at almost 248,000 trailers, down about 17% from 2020. The decline is entirely the result of supply-chain and staffing issues, as OEM output continues to trail actual fleet demand, according to Maley.

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