ACT Research: December 2019 Preliminary U.S. Trailer Net Orders Down 13% M/M and 37% Lower Y/Y; Full-Year 2019 Less than Half of 2018 Volume

Trailer Prelim Graph 1-14-20ACT’s preliminary estimate for December 2019 indicates trailer manufacturers booked 17.2k net orders to their orderboards last month, a 13% decline from November volume. Activity was 37% below last December. For the full year, the industry booked just under 205k net orders, a 51% decline versus 2018 volume. That annual volume was the lowest since 2011.

Before accounting for cancellations, new orders in December were 17.9k trailers, off 16% month-over-month and 39% below last year. Full-year new orders of just over 244k units were down 44% versus 2018. Final volume will be available later this month. This preliminary market estimate should be within +/- 3% of the final order tally.

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 and trailer OEMs and suppliers, to better understand the market.

animation - 2020-01-15T150841.678“The year closed on a disappointing note, as fleets continue to maintain a very conservative stance toward 2020 capital investment. Backlog declined in 11 months of 2019, with October being the only exception to that trend. The year-end orderboard sets a very soft foundation for OEMs for the new year, as OEMs seek to better balance their production volumes to their existing orderboards,” said Frank Maly, Director–CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. He added, “Preliminary information indicates that production was reduced in December, the result of both holiday schedules and a reaction to the contracting orderboard. We will watch levels in Q1’20 closely to see if OEMs have brought their efforts into better balance.”

Additionally, Maly said, “Inventory levels are another headwind. While inventory did decline as the year closed, the reduction in December was less than would normally be expected. That overhang will cause some further challenges to the industry during early 2020.”

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’s 62nd seminar is scheduled for February 11-13, 2020, and will feature trucker, electrification, and economic panels, as well as discussions on near-term demand of North American commercial vehicle markets and the pending impact of electrification on the market in the near future. A commercial vehicle database workshop is also being planned in conjunction with this semi-annual event.

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