FTR reported Friday October U.S. trailer net orders rose by more than 6,000 units last month, a 21% jump from September, to their highest levels since December 2022. The strong orders had previously been reported by ACT Research earlier in the week.
FTR reports October's preliminary order total of 34,400 units was still down 21% from October 2022 but indicates seasonal demand remains high. Orders over the last 12 months totaled 294,000 units.
Additionally, build rates improved 4% month over month in October but lagged orders, meaning backlogs rose for only the second time in 2023. September had been the first month of the year to see an increase in backlogs.
“Trailer backlogs relative to production levels overall are in line with normal levels historically, but they vary notably by trailer type. The backlog-to-build ratios for van trailers are still elevated and should support current production levels,” says Eric Starks, FTR chairman of the board.
“The ratios are much lower for more specialized trailer types, raising concerns over possible cuts in production down the road. On the plus side, the order increases in October for most specialized trailer types greatly outperformed dry van and refrigerated van trailers.”