ACT Research: U.S. Net and New Trailer Orders Show Double-Digit M/M Decline; Y/Y Gains Bolstered by COVID-Impacted May 2020

Trailer Graph 6-17-21May net US trailer orders of 8,676 units fell nearly 40% from the previous month, but were more than 165% higher compared to the COVID-impacted May of 2020. Before accounting for cancellations, new orders of 11.7k units were down 38% versus April, but 56% better than the previous May, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report.

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

Used 6.18.2021 (1)“The pause in order acceptance by several trailer OEMs, as they seek to reign in the backlog to an acceptable length, is obviously the driving force. A lack of demand is certainly not a factor. As noted in ACT Research’s recent Classes 5-8 State of the Industry Report, the US Tractor Dashboard for June, which measures the potential strength of the tractor market, rose to its maximum value of 15, an indication of the strong conditions present across the entire commercial vehicle market,” said Frank Maly, Director–CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. He cautioned, “Orders will again begin to flow once OEMs are satisfied that materials/component pricing and supply, along with adequate staff, are in place to allow them to make further 2022 production commitments and satisfy robust fleet demand.”

Maly added, “The ongoing challenge for OEMs to ramp production in response to robust fleet demand is evident in the backlog-to-build metric, which has ranged between 9 and 11 months since December. May closed at 9.1 months, the result of lower net orders being booked, backlog reduction, and a small increase in the build rate.” He concluded, “Even with that backlog-to-build ratio decline, the industry is committed, on average, into March of 2022, with dry vans and reefers extended to April and into May, respectively.”

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

What’s coming next in 2021 and 2022? ACT’s 65th OUTLOOK Seminar is the planning event for your business needs. Mark your calendar for August 24-26, 2021 to gain market updates and forecasts from ACT’s award-winning, veteran team with more than 200 years of combined industry experience. Click here for more details

ACT’s commercial electric vehicle study, Charging Forward: 2020-2024 BEV & FCEV Forecast & Analysis, was published on March 31, 2021, after months of extensive research. Utilizing industry expertise and analysis, as well as the input from a comprehensive list of key industry study participants, ACT Research has developed a critical guide for battery electric and fuel cell electric unit build and sales forecasts over the next two decades. With coverage of Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, ACT has identified 14 market subsegments and more than 20 application types; this one-of-a-kind report is a must-have for those investing or investigating electric power opportunities. To learn more or to purchase this report, click here. 

Click below to:

Access more information about ACT’s State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Report.

Access more information about ACT Research’s other publications and services.

Access July's State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles Preliminary Press Release.

Access May's State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles Press Release.

In the News Page.

Back to Blog

Related Articles

ACT Research: U.S. Trailer Net Orders Up 2% M/M, but Down 72% Y/Y and 51% YTD

New US trailer orders of 14.8k were up 7% month-over-month, and after accounting for cancellations,...

ACT Research: U.S. Trailer Net Orders Up 73% M/M, but Down 68% Y/Y and 54% YTD

New US trailer orders of 21.6k were up 44% month-over-month, and after accounting for...

ACT Research: U.S. Trailer Net Orders Up 71% M/M, but Down 42% Y/Y and 52% YTD

New US trailer orders of 37.2k were up 72% month-over-month, and after accounting for...