ACT Research: Long Backlog Horizons Challenge US Trailer Manufacturers

According to this quarter’s issue of ACT Research’s Trailer Components Report, the US trailer industry backlog grew 3% sequentially in December, but ended 2021 9% below the previous year.

ACT Research’s U.S. New Trailer Components and Materials Forecast provides those in the trailer production supply chain, as well as those who invest in said suppliers and commodities, with forecast quantities of components and raw materials required to support the trailer forecast for the coming five years. It includes near-term quarterly predictions for two years, while the latter three years of the forecast are shown in annual details. Additionally, analysis is segmented into two categories: those needed for the structural composition of new trailers and those used in the production of undercarriage assembly.

“Overall, last year closed with the US trailer industry facing a backlog-to-build ratio of 8 months,” said Frank Maly, Director–CV Transportation Analysis and Research “Overall, last year closed with the US trailer industry facing a backlog-to-build ratio of 8 months,” said Frank Maly, Director–CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. He explained, “December was the second consecutive sequential gain. After remaining well over 10 months earlier in the year, backlog-to-build averaged 8.0 months from May through December, an indication of OEMs’ efforts to closely balance their orderboards and their potential production levels.” Maly added, “The dry van category closed 2021 with an 8.7-month backlog-to-build, while reefers, normally the category with the industry’s longest backlog, ended 2021 at 8.3 months. Surprisingly, the long horizons occurred in the vocational categories, with heavy lowbeds currently stretching into early Q2’23 at current production rates.”

He noted, “The industry remains challenged by component and materials issues, as well as staffing, although our projections do call for a gradual increase in production rates as the year progresses. That said, OEMs’ efforts to ramp volume continue to come short of their preferences.” Maly concluded, “Supply-chain issues will continue to slow OEM production increases. Frequently mentioned in supply constraint discussions are castings, forgings, wiring, lights, suspensions, axles, wood, and tires. As one contact noted, the challenges are widespread and varied: ‘It’s something different every day’.”

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 www.actresearch.net.

ACT’s 66th Seminar is scheduled for February 22-24, 2022. Focused on the continuous evolution and advancement of autonomous and powertrain technologies in the transportation and commercial vehicle markets, OUTLOOK Seminar 66 will feature key industry leaders from Ford, Transplace, TuSimple, and the EPA, with more being added to the agenda. February’s event features three panels (US Economics, Trucker & Transportation, and Autonomous Ecosystem), as well as a fireside chat with the EPA, discussions about fleet decarbonization, electric vehicle forecasts, and reviews of freight/transportation, Class 8, Classes 5-7, the US used truck and new US trailer markets. For information about OUTLOOK Seminar 66, click https://www.actresearch.net/seminar66/.

ACT Research recently completed POWER UP, a look at 7 global regions and more than 20 countries in a review of local regulations, infrastructure, and the impact on the adoption of battery and fuel cell electric commercial vehicles through 2040. This forecast is the first of its kind, a review of the decarbonization of commercial vehicles around the world. POWER UP is now available now at https://www.actresearch.net/power-up/.

Additionally, ACT Research published an update to CHARGING FORWARD, a North American-centric battery and fuel cell electric vehicle adoption rate forecast, covering 23 vehicle applications, in Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, through 2040. CHARGING FORWARD is considered by many industry leaders to be the apex of analysis and economic-based total cost of ownership modeling in the industry. And, it is now available for purchase at https://www.actresearch.net/electric-vehicles-charge/.

Currently, the team at ACT Research is engaged in a commercial autonomous vehicle multi-client study. Through this work, we will identify adoption rates and forecast autonomous Classes 4-8 vehicles through 2040. If you’re working to understand the economic value proposition or the unit economics of different autonomous models, participation in this study is a must. Learn more at https://www.actresearch.net/autonomous-cv/.

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