ACT Research: Production Constraints Challenging US Trailer Production

According to this quarter’s issue of ACT Research’s Trailer Components Report, trailer orders were preliminarily lower for April, and meaningfully so.

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.

Used 6.3.21“Lower orders will be the result of dry van and reefer orderboards that commit most OEMs through the remainder of this year and well into the next,” said Frank Maly, Director–CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. He explained, “Additionally, cancellations increased in both March and April, with a mix of pricing reviews by OEMs of units on the orderboard, due to increased component and materials costs, appearing to be a driving force in those adjustments.” Maly also noted, “ACT has increased trailer forecasts for nearly all trailer categories, with dry vans and reefers now projected to set new annual production records next year.”

He added, “The industry is rebounding from the COVID-generated market pressures of 2020, and extremely strong freight volumes and the resulting surge in fleet financials are providing the need for additional equipment and the ability for the CAPEX investment. That said, staffing is expected to be a major headwind during this market upturn, and component pricing increases are also pushing trailer prices upward.” Maly concluded, “Ultimately, softer order volumes are expected through early summer, until trailer OEMs re-open their order books, after getting component supplies and pricing into place and increasing their staffing levels to support stronger production 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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