Trucking industry analysts at FTR report final July trailer orders below expectations at 9,500 units, which is 20 percent lower than June’s figures and 55 percent lower than a year ago.
Dry van orders were particularly weak, with other trailer segments experiencing noticeable order declines as well. Orders have totaled 260,000 units over the past 12 months. Backlogs fell another 9 percent and are now 21 percent below a year ago. Trailer build was also down for the month, minus-7 percent (per day) from June.
Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles, said, “July is typically the weakest order month of the year, but still, orders were lower than expected. Freight has been slow to recover from the manufacturing dip and fleets do not need as many trailers as they once forecast. Many second-half orders are being cancelled or moved to 2017. This is similar to what happened previously in the Class 8 market.
“Van backlogs remain viable and there are no significant economic factors driving down the market. The trailer market is highly cyclical and July appears to be the beginning of the decline. Production usually drops somewhat in July due to increased vacation days, so it will be interesting how much the August build numbers recover — if at all.”