Trailer orders dip, but production improving

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Updated Aug 18, 2022

Trailer orders slid 28% last month compared to the month prior, according to preliminary data released by FTR, but we up more than 100% over July 2021.

The 17,000 units booked in July bring the 12 month total to 275,000 units. OEMs still appear to be cautious about taking orders for next year’s build slots, however, the holding pattern does appear to be opening on a limited basis, according to FTR Commercial Vehicle Analyst Charles Roth.

 â€śAmidst these uncertainties and production challenges, OEMs have continued to strategically manage backlog levels and maintain strong build rates. Under these conditions, order volumes are likely to improve in Q4 as OEMs begin filling their production schedules for 2023," Roth said, adding that moderate improvements are being made month-over-month however supply chain conditions, rising material costs and labor availability continue to remain inhibiting factors that are making it very difficult for manufacturers to increase build rates. “While trucking conditions have as of late suffered due to weaker market dynamics and increasing costs, overall demand for new equipment remains exceptional and is expected to remain strong as carriers are still in need of new equipment to supplement their replacement cycles.”

Jennifer McNealy, ACT Research director of commercial vehicle market research & publications, said manufacturers continue to negotiate with fleets, and that discussions in June indicated that some OEMs had opened part of their 2023 build slots, "and in July we learned that further opening isn’t expected soon, as manufacturers continue to wrestle with rolling supply-chain disruptions, as well as challenges on the labor front."

That said, McNealy noted that demand remains strong, despite increased pricing, and cancellations, although ticking upward, are "insignificant, as fleets in queue need the equipment and plan to stay in queue until orders are converted to deliveries.”