US trailer orders down in January

US trailer orders decreased nominally from December to January this year, but were substantially down compared to figures for the same time last year.

At 13,700 units, orders were down 43 per cent year on year.

“With the pent-up demand enjoyed by the industry during the past few years largely extinguished, a softer opening to 2024 meets expectations,” said the Director CV Market Research & Publications at ACT Research, Jennifer McNealy. “Net orders are being challenged by a backdrop of weak profitability for for-hire truckers, and anecdotal commentary from trailer manufacturers throughout the past several months have been indicating this slowing, as they have shared that orders are coming but not at the same rapid pace that they have the last few years.”

McNealy said the results continue to support the thesis that when fleets don’t make money, their ability and/or willingness to purchase equipment is muted but added that the results don’t necessarily indicate a catastrophic year can be expected.

Another indicator being closely watched was cancellations, which oscillated above comfortable levels for most segments in January.

“While the industry’s largest segments are under pressure, some specialty segments have no available build slots until late in 2024 at the earliest, while others are in the three-month range,” McNealy said.

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