Trailer orders rebound in August

August trailer order numbers were released Tuesday, with FTR reporting August net orders rebounded from July, as expected, to 14,600 units, while ACT’s preliminary estimate was higher at 15,600 units.

FTR data shows August order activity was up 9 percent month-over-month and 4 percent year-over-year. FTR says all trailer segments had small gains with the exception of flatbed, which fell in August after a strong July. Orders have now totaled 265,000 units the last 12 months. Additionally, FTR says backlogs fell another 11 percent and are expected to bottom out for the year in September. Production (per day) was unchanged from July.

“August was another quiet, summer month for trailers. Orders remained at the bottom of the cycle as expected. The good news is that build rates remained sturdy for van trailers and the vocational segments also held steady. Backlogs are lower than last year at this time but should start to recover in a couple months,” says Don Ake, FTR vice president of Commercial Vehicles.

Adds Frank Maly, ACT director of CV Transportation Analysis and Research, “The strong order pace we’ve seen throughout this year eased a bit in August. While dry vans and reefers did post good numbers, those increases were a bit softer than seen in recent months. Our preliminary information also indicates a weak month for flatbeds. The result is total industry net order volume up versus July, but at a rate that’s actually a bit less than normal seasonal patterns project.”

Looking ahead, Ake says “2017 will turn out to be another solid trailer year, pushed up by growing freight demand and tighter industry capacity. Next year is forecasted to be just as strong, and the vocational segments should continue to grow as the industrial economy improves.”

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