Trailer orders in March hit their highest level since December 2020 – but for dry van orders, this may represent most of the build slots for trailer makers for the rest of the year.
According to ACT Research, the surge in trailer orders in March will extend OEM commitments for most of the rest of the year at current production levels.
“Is this a complete sale? Not quite, but it comes close for many dry van and refrigerated bodybuilders”, Frank Maly. ACT’s director of analysis and CV transport research, told HDT.
“The March surge is a near-term spike, but the volume of orders ahead will be driven by OEMs’ willingness to accept orders and their willingness to start opening 2023 order boards,” Maly said concerned. by pricing, the major challenge.
“For example, an OEM informed me that their extremely low order volume for the month was the result of their being out of stock for the year and that they were unwilling to open 2023 order charts for the time,” Maly said. “Others, accepting higher order volumes, were filling their remaining production capacity for 2022.”
For professional trailers, there is more construction slot availability, although their backlogs generally stretch further than normal, Maly said.
According to ACT and FTR, whose preliminary numbers vary slightly, trailer orders in March were 36,200 to 37,900 units, up 40-41% month-over-month and 28-29% higher. year to year. Trailer orders over the past 12 months totaled 252,000 units, according to FTR.
FTR said most major trailer OEMs saw significant increases over the past six months, and March’s strong order total is expected to push backlogs above the 200,000-unit mark for the first time since. May 2021.
ACT said final figures for the month will likely reveal the industry’s total backlog which now stretches into December at current production rates, heavily influenced by dry van and refrigerated truck commitments which essentially fill their year.
Trailer Manufacturing Capability
FTR and ACT said the numbers indicate trailer makers could be optimistic about their ability to increase build rates later this year.
“This is great news for the trailer market,” said Don Ake, FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles. “Most of the major OEMs were stuck in a wait-and-see pattern on orders since the supply chain tightened. The fact that they now have the confidence to take in more orders may indicate that deliveries from suppliers improve and labor shortages ease.
ACT Research expects production rates to improve as the year progresses, “which will likely open up additional, but limited, availability later in 2022,” Maly said. “The wild cards revolve around both supply chain support and staffing. We heard last month that staffing seems to be getting less difficult. This month, comments indicated that the supply chain was also starting to smooth out. Clearly, both are positive trends, but they are likely helping to alleviate the production planning challenges faced by OEMs rather than generating a solid path to significant increases in production levels.
“Because OEMs have had their production limited by the supply chain, we estimate pent-up demand for trailers could reach 100,000 units,” FTR’s Ake said. “It will take a long time for OEMs to catch up with fleet needs once the supply chain opens.”