FTR reported Monday preliminary trailer orders for March 2019 at 13,500 units, plummeting to the smallest monthly total since September 2016 and the lowest March since 2008.
FTR adds recent comparisons also were negative, with orders down 43 percent month over month and 52 percent year over year. Trailers orders for the past 12 months now total 371,000 units.
The company adds dry van orders were particularly low — only few build slots remain available for 2019 — as were vocational trailer orders. The low level of trailer order activity in March should result in backlogs finally beginning to move down from record levels, FTR says.
“This low order number is not surprising. Backlogs had fallen little so far in 2019, and are at unreasonable levels. Fleets still need more trailers, based on the robust production, so demand has not changed in the short run,” says Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “The weak orders are totally the result of the lack of available production openings. However, cancellations will continue to be a factor due to a large, fluid, backlog.”