FTR reports preliminary trailer orders fell back substantially in April to 16,800 units, 53% below March order activity with a +4% y/y comparison. Trailer orders for the past twelve months have totaled 252,000 units.

Most OEMs experienced the pullback from March with the market showing caution due to lockdowns in China and war in Eastern Europe. The reductions will likely impact all trailer segments when final April numbers are tabulated.

Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, commented, “There is no reason for trailer OEMs to overbook, with increasing uncertainties regarding the supply chain. The situation in Shanghai is going to delay some components that are needed to make trailers. In addition, the war in Europe is creating shortages of aluminum with an associated spike in pricing. These and other doubts have delayed OEMs from issuing quotes for 2023 requirements. So, the low order volumes reflect OEMs filling in the months of the 2022 production schedule they feel more confident about.

“The pent-up demand for trailers is estimated at over 100,000 units. But now, the supply chain difficulties are expected to extend into 2023. OEMs will then have to build at high rates for an extended time to catch up to demand. The short-term prospects are subdued, but the long-term outlook remains bright.”