Trailer orders rise as expected in October

Trailer orders trended upward this week. FTR on Thursday reported preliminary October U.S. net trailer orders at 33,600 units, while ACT estimate the month at 32,000.

FTR says October’s vibrant order activity was up 65 percent year-over-year and right in line with expectations. Although there have been some indications the dry van market is softening, orders in this segment were steady. FTR says trailer orders have now totaled 290,000 units over the past twelve months.

“There is good news on the vocational side. Flatbed demand continues to be sturdy as the housing and energy markets continue to prosper. Renewed energy activity is also helping tankers and lowbeds,” says Don Ake, FTR vice president of Commercial Vehicles. “Demand may be off some from the great levels of the last few years, but sales should remain at high volumes. Orders are expected to be healthy for the next two months as fleets complete placing orders for 2018 requirements.  The trailer market next year continues to look very positive.”

ACT Research says through October the industry has booked more than 226,000 net orders.

“The industry order season is off to a solid start, with a surge in dry van orders providing most of the momentum last month,” says Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research. “At this point last year, the industry was in a bit of a holding pattern with pre-election jitters keeping some fleets sidelined. That helped set the stage for October’s solid 50 percent year-over-year net order comparison.”

Additionally, ACT says the Federal Appeal Court ruling on GHG-2 regulations, although occurring late in the month, likely alleviated some new year market uncertainty, and could have helped finalize some fleet investment decisions as the month closed.

“Year-to-date net orders are up almost 45 percent versus last year. At October’s build rate, the current orderboard would take the industry through most of next year’s first quarter,” Maly says.

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