ACT Research: Increasingly Tough Conditions for Trailer Customers and Dealers in June

ACT Research Co.
3 min readJul 25, 2023

Clouds on the trailer-market horizon bear watching, while simultaneously recognizing this is the seasonally weakest time of the year for forward-looking metrics, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report.

a graph showing total US trailers backlog and backlog-to-build ratio data from January 2014 through June 2023
Total Trailers Backlog & Backlog/Build Ratio June 2023

“As expected, production outpaced orders again in June, dropping trailer backlogs 12% sequentially and 10% year-over-year. Dry van, reefer, and flatbed backlogs were down month-over-month, while dumps were higher, as net orders slightly outpaced build in that segment,” said Jennifer McNealy, Director–CV Market Research & Publications at ACT Research. She explained, “Despite the big sequential drop in trailer backlogs, the seasonally adjusted backlog-to-build ratio shed a modest 20 basis points, to 7.1 months in June from May’s 7.3-month level and 8.5 months from last June. While lower, the current backlog essentially commits the industry into the beginning of 2024.”

a graph showing total US trailers cancellations and cancellation rate expressed as a percentage of backlog with data from January 2014 through June 2023
Total Trailers: Cancellations & Rate June 2023

Regarding cancellations, McNealy stated, “Fleet commitments remained mixed in June. Total cancels dropped to 2.8% of backlog, from May’s 4.2% rate. OEMs are still reporting that most cancellations are coming from the dealer network, although fleet and model-year cancellation-rebooks are being reported as the 2024 orderboards begin to open and slots get pushed.”

McNealy concluded, “Conversations with industry stakeholders the past few weeks revealed that while they remain relatively optimistic about 2024, there was an acknowledgement of increasingly challenging conditions for customers and dealers.”

ACT Research, State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers

ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report provides a monthly review of the current US trailer market statistics, as well as trailer OEM build plans and market indicators divided by all major trailer types, including backlogs, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and factory shipments. It is accompanied by a database that gives historical information from 1996 to the present, as well as a ready-to-use graph packet, to allow organizations in the trailer production supply chain, and those following the investment value of trailers, trailer OEMs, and suppliers to better understand the market.

ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis, and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

--

--

ACT Research Co.

ACT Research is the leader in commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis, and forecasting services for North America.