ACT Research: Preliminary Net Trailer Orders in October Beat Previous Month by 4,000 Units

ACT Research Co.
3 min readNov 16, 2023

October’s preliminary net trailer orders increased nominally from September to October, at 35,300 units, but were lower compared to last October, down more than 26% y/y. As we’re still in the opening of peak order season, seasonal adjustment (SA) lowers October’s SA tally to 26,200 units. Final October results will be available later this month. This preliminary market estimate should be within +/-5% of the final order tally.

a graph showing the US trailer net orders with data from January 2019 through (preliminary) October 2023
US Trailer Net Orders

“Preliminary net orders, at 26,200 seasonally adjusted, were about 9% lower sequentially,” said Jennifer McNealy, Director CV Market Research & Publications at ACT Research. She added, “While this certainly continues the positive momentum for the industry that began last month, two months of robust orders does not guarantee the full year. It’s still early in the new year order season to call.”

McNealy continued, “The data continue to provide mixed messages, with cancellations remaining elevated, driven primarily by the platform and tank segments, even as backlogs remain at healthy levels in general and particularly in the specialty segments. The BL/BU ratio was well north of five months in aggregate, with some specialty segments having no available build slots until late in 2024 at the earliest.” She concluded, “We’ve been hearing that order discussions were occurring, and it looks like quotations continue to convert to ‘booked’ business.”

When asked about the backlog’s trajectory, she commented, “Using preliminary October orders and the corresponding OEM build plans from the October State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report (September data) for guidance, we would expect the trailer backlog to increase by around 7,300 units to about 146,100 units when complete October data are released. As this number is derived from estimated data, note there will be some variability to 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



ACT Research Co.

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