Trailer orders are down this year but production levels are near all-time highs as OEMs work...

Trailer orders are down this year but production levels are near all-time highs as OEMs work through the glut of orders from last year. 

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Trailer orders have declined through April, falling well below last year’s levels but production levels are near all-time highs as manufacturers are still working through last year’s orders, according to ACT Research.

According to ACT Research’s Trailer Components Report, the past five months of net trailer orders have been in the red in year-over-year comparisons, hitting just of 80,000 units from January to April of this year. This represents a drop of 37% compared to last year.

Despite the slowdown, or because of last year’s trailer order boom, orderboards are still stretched nearly to the end of the year, said Frank Maly, director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT Research.

Demand is not the primary factor in declining orders, in fact it is a symptom of manufacturer’s reluctance to fully open their 2020 orderboards and some may be taking verbal commitments only so far.

“We’re hearing of OEMs actively gathering ‘verbal commitments’ for the first half of 2020, with some orders reportedly being posted as ‘price pending’,” said Maly.

Along with a decline in orders has been an increase in cancellations in recent months, despite the widespread implementation of cancellation penalties.

“Trailer production continues at robust levels, with March of 2019 as the second highest production month in industry history,” said Maly. “ACT anticipates strong production levels through the remainder of this year, but see OEMs continuing to be challenged by component and material issues, as well as staffing.”

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