ACT Research: U.S. Trailer Net Orders Close 2020 on Positive Note, Sets Stage for Robust 2021

December net US trailer orders of 43,806 units grew 11% from the previous month and were up nearly 150% year-over-year. Before accounting for cancellations, new orders of 45.8k units were up 11% versus November, but 148% better than the previous December, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report. Full-year 2020 net orders were 41% improved from those recorded for full-year 2019.

Trailer Graph 1-21-21

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.

“Large fleets continue to contribute to the orderboard, while dealer stocking orders also aided volume in December,” said Frank Maly, Director–CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. He added, “Strength continued in dry vans, but reefers eased from a very robust November. Sequential improvement occurred in many vocational categories, a pleasant change although vocational segment demand remains well under last year’s levels.

Used 1_22_2021

Maly continued, “The industry is now set for a very robust 2021 for dry vans, reefers, and flats. The 2020 year-end backlog is the third-best in industry history and 50% better than the average year-end orderboard of 2010-2019.” He concluded, “The challenge for OEMs will be to increase build rates to address this solid orderboard, creating additional production slots as we move through the year.”

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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