ACT Research: U.S. Trailer Orders Grow as Orderbooks Begin to Open, But Fall Well Below Last Year’s Seasonal Surge

Trailer Graph 10-22-21September net US trailer orders of 28,127 units rose nearly 126% from the previous month, but were more than 45% lower compared to September of 2020. Before accounting for cancellations, new orders of 32.4k units were up almost 140% versus August, but 38% lower than the previous September, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report. YTD, net orders for the first nine months of 2021 were up 11%, while new orders grew 8% compared to the same time period in 2020, which included the COVID-stricken spring data.

Used 10.22.21 (2)

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.


“September total net trailer orders grew mainly as the result of a 268% month-over-month surge in dry van orders for the month, as some 2022 orderbooks were very cautiously cracked open,” said Frank Maly, Director–CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. He continued, “It appears that OEMs are being extremely careful regarding acceptance of additional orders, although the caution is more centered in the higher-volume dry van, reefer, and flatbed categories.”

Trailer Net Order Ratio Graph 10-22-21

Maly added, “Dry van and reefer OEMs are trying to walk a very delicate line, setting their pricing in a very challenging inflationary environment while also balancing production commitments with component and material availability and staffing concerns.” He concluded, “Staffing seems to have become a more challenging issue for the industry. Adds to staff are very difficult, while consistent attendance of existing staff is also reported to be problematic.”

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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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

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