ACT Research: Preliminary Results Show OEMs Booked 42.5k Net Orders in December to Close a Dramatic Pandemic-Impacted 2020


Preliminary information for December indicates that the U.S. trailer industry booked 42,500 net orders for the month. That was 7% better than November and 140% above year-ago levels. For the full year, estimated net order volume of more than 288k trailers was 40% better than 2019. Final December 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.

Used 01_14_2021“December activity closes a tumultuous year on a very solid up note. As has been the story throughout recent months, dry van demand continued to drive the market. While October and November were the best two dry van order months in history, final stats will likely show December not far behind, ranking fifth best,” said Frank Maly, Director CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. He added, “After rushing to the sidelines in the spring, fleets surged back into the market as the year proceeded, reacting to capacity challenges as well as higher freight rates. Those factors drove a dramatic shift in the short-to-medium term outlook for fleets, driving them to make aggressive investment commitments in the latter part of the year.” He also noted, “Total industry backlog likely ended the year at more than 200k trailers, the best orderboard level since April 2019. At current production levels, many OEMs would well be fully-committed for 2021 production slots. However, OEMs will work to increase production levels as we move through the year, pulling that backlog horizon forward.”

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 64th Seminar is scheduled for February 23-25, 2021. Focused on the continuous evolution and advancement of power and energy changes in the transportation and commercial vehicle markets, OUTLOOK Seminar 64 will feature key industry leaders such as Ryan Reed of Wabash National, John Bennett from Meritor, Lance Riegel of Marvin Johnson, and Dominick Beckman from Hino Motors. Look for more details on this event over the coming months and save the date for February’s event. Click here for seminar information. 

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