Wabash National sales surge on new strategy, pent-up demand

February 6, 2023

Land Line Staff


Trailer and truck body manufacturer Wabash National Corp. is riding a surge of pent-up demand and the benefits of a new long-term deal with J.B Hunt.

“Although 2022 will go down as the most successful year of financial performance the company has achieved so far, the groundwork to enable this execution has been in progress since 2019,” Brent Yeagy, Wabash National president and CEO, said in a company statement. “The changes to our strategy and the accompanying improvements to our organization that we’ve communicated in recent years have positioned us for this record performance, which we fully expect to expand upon in 2023.”

New orders “substantially outpaced shipment,” due in part to a long-term agreement with national trucking company J.B. Hunt. Wabash announced the multiple-year supply agreement in January. The deal was executed during the fourth quarter.

Wabash National announced that through this deal it was adopting a strategy of intentionally building a backlog with strategic customers who are interested in jointly planning demand for a period that looks beyond the next 12 months, the company reported in January.

“The trailers provided by Wabash over the next few years will help us expand capacity available for services like private fleet outsourcing and drop-and-hook freight,” Nick Hobbs, chief operating officer and president of contract services at J.B. Hunt, said in the January report from Wabash. “With an additional 15,000-plus trailers, we can improve the efficiency of our equipment so that assets are in the right place at the right time for available drivers.

Wabash says in a February quarterly earnings report that its backlog as of Dec. 31 increased to approximately $3.4 billion, as sequential new order activity substantially outpaced shipments. Backlog rose 46%, compared to September 2022, and was 34% above December 2021. Backlog expected to be shipped within the following 12 months was $2.8 billion as of Dec. 31.

In 2022, Lafayette, Ind.-based Wabash National shipped 13,310 new trailers. In 2021, it shipped 11,655 new trailers.

Net sales for the three months ending Dec. 31 totaled $657,449 in 2022, which compares to $479,277 for the same period in 2021.

For the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2022, net sales were $2.5 million. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2021, net sales were $1.9 million.

U.S. trailer orders up

Data from ACT Research echo the info provided by Wabash National.

December net U.S. trailer orders of 57,300 units were nearly 46% higher compared to November and 115% above December 2021, ACT Research reported in January.

December orders were the second-highest month since ACT Research began tracking trailer sales data, according to an ACT news release.

From this standpoint, 2022 went out like a lion,” analyst Jennifer Mealey, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications, said in the news release.

The year 2022 closed with 361,500 net orders placed, Mealey reported, exceeding the previous year’s 249,400 level. She said ACT Research’s our projections point to a continuation of that upward trend into 2023. LL

More business news is available.