Trailer orders bouncing back as some 2022 slots open

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Disruptions in the supply chain have disrupted production in 2021 and are now delaying trailer order placements in 2022.

Trailer orders bounced back in August as a few OEMs began limited bookings for 2022.

According to preliminary data from FTR, trailer orders reached 15,100 units last month, up 79% from July but down 47% year-over-year. Trailers orders for the past 12 months total 341,000 Units. 

[Related: Trailer production recovery expected next year, 2023 for trucks]

Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, said fleets are eager to lock up prime 2022 build slots but OEMs continue to be careful in managing order scheduling since they already won't be able to build all the orders placed this year. These orders will roll into the first quarter of 2022 and coupled with the uncertain supply chain, conditions make it difficult for trailer builders to slot orders and plan production for next year.

"The disruptions in the supply chain have disrupted production in 2021 and are now delaying order placements in 2022. OEMs do not know when they will be able to ramp up production, so a tremendous amount of uncertainty exists," Ake said. "The supply chain is expected to remain clogged for several more months and then improve at a gradual level throughout the first half of next year.“

Ake noted there is already demand for new trailers next year driven by OEMs' inability to produce enough trailers in 2021, and pent-up demand grows every month.

"Freight growth is expected to be robust, rolling into next year," Ake added. "Fleets are desperate for more new trailers today, and they perceive an even greater need next year. When OEMs begin booking at full throttle for 2022, there could be a record number of trailer orders for the month.”