ACT Research: Preliminary Net Trailer Orders Fall, Cancellations Rise; Backlogs Still Elevated

ACT Research Co.
3 min readJun 14, 2023

May’s preliminary net trailer orders decreased sequentially, and were lower against longer-term comparisons, with 9,100 units (11,950 seasonally adjusted) projected to have been booked during the month. Final May results will be available later this month. This preliminary market estimate should be within +/-5% of the final order tally.

US Trailer Net Orders May 2023 Preliminary

“Preliminary net orders were 10% lower compared to April’s intake, and down 54% versus the same month last year,” said Jennifer McNealy, Director CV Market Research & Publications at ACT Research. She added, “Seasonal expectations call for orders to continue their pull back in the coming months, particularly given near record-level order backlogs, as trailer manufacturers normally spend mid-year working down the backlog ahead of the next year’s orderboard opening in the fall.”

McNealy continued, “Albeit against strong comparisons, demand is softening. In addition to the seasonally-anticipated slowing in orders, we’re starting to see increased and broad-based cancellations. That said, backlogs remain robust, so many fleets needing trailers remain in queue for orders already placed, with relative backlog measurements for most trailer categories still near the top of their target ranges.”

When asked about build and backlog, she commented, “Using preliminary May orders and the corresponding OEM build plans from the May State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report (April data) for guidance, the trailer backlog should decrease by around 19,000 units to about 194,000 units when complete May data are released. That said, with orders being preliminary and the build number a projection, there will be some variability in reported backlogs when final data are collected.”

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.

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ACT Research Co.

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