ACT Research: U.S. Trailer Orders Close 2021 About 16% Lower Than In 2020

ACT Research Co.
4 min readJan 21, 2022

December net US trailer orders of 26,382 units decreased nearly 18% from the previous month and were nearly 41% lower compared to December of 2020. Before accounting for cancellations, new orders of 28.5k units were down about 16% versus November, and almost 39% lower than the previous December, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report. For the full year, net orders and new orders were 16% and 15% lower, respectively, compared to 2020, which included the COVID-stricken Spring timeframe.

December 2021 Net Trailer Orders 26,382 Units

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.

“The 2021 order season softness resulted from the conservative order acceptance stance in the dry van and reefer categories, which more than offset improvement in the vocational segments,” said Frank Maly, Director–CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. He continued, “With no indication of meaningful improvement in production levels in the near future, we expect the industry to continue on this pattern for the foreseeable future. Fleets will continue to struggle to find new equipment and allocation of production, and correspondingly order volume, will likely be the story for both fleet customers and the dealer channel.”

Net Order Ratio — U.S. Trailers: U.S. Cl. 8 Tractors — 3 Month Moving Average. January 2012 — December 2021

Maly added, “OEMs continue to struggle to ramp their activity, hampered by both supply-chain issues and staffing challenges. Which one is generating the most pain? Well, that seems to be a moving comparison, with some contacts indicating supply-chain disruptions rule, while others point to staffing. The latter ranges from consistent attendance, efforts to increase the workforce or a combination of the two. Both will continue to impede meaningful increases in production volumes in the short-to-medium term.” He concluded, “The result is that 2021 closed with an 8.0-month backlog-to-build ratio, which means industry production is committed, on average, through August at current build rates.”

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

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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.