U.S. trailer orders set a record for July last month, with FTR reporting a preliminary total of 28,000 units and ACT Research following with a report of 29,300 units on Thursday.
In releasing its data, FTR states trailer orders have now totaled 350,000 units for the past 12 months. Orders were up 109 percent year over year.
OEMs have opened up some of the 2019 order boards, so fleets have started ordering a couple months early to reserve build spots and lock in prices, FTR says. Carriers expect to add more trucks in 2019 and will need additional trailers for them. Freight growth continues to strain industry capacity. Refrigerated van orders were particularly strong and dry van orders rebounded after a weak June, FTR adds in its report.
ACT Research’s Director of CV Transportation Analysis and Research says July’s totals were 102 percent better than last July and 45 percent above June volume.
“This is a terrific order number for a month of July. Usually July is the lowest order month of the year, but not this year. This indicates the trailer market should continue to be robust in 2019,” says Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “Strong economic and freight growth is expected to continue and, as a result, trailer production is at record levels. Orders should stay elevated as fleets continue to place orders earlier than normal for 2019.”
Maly agrees, adding, “When seasonally adjusted, July came in above 44,000 units, the second strongest monthly reading in industry history. That converts to a stunning 528,000 SAAR. Both dry vans and reefers paced overall performance, closing the month with backlogs that now stretch into March of next year.
“While strength was evident across all industry segments, it is noteworthy that cancellations remain low, indicating strong fleet confidence as we move through the rest of this year and into next.”