Trucking industry analysts at FTR report final October net trailer orders at 20,200 units, which is up 72 percent month over month but down 38 percent year over year, which the company says basically meet expectations.
Although dry van orders in October were the highest in 10 months, they were significantly below the robust numbers that came in during the same month in 2015. Backlogs dipped 3 percent and show signs of stabilizing soon.
Trailer orders have totaled 213,000 units the last 12 months. Based on order rate and declining backlogs, production is expected to fall moderately beginning in November. The October trailer build was down 5 percent month over month, affecting all trailer types.
Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles, said, “The trailer market is coming back in sync with the Class 8 markets. Large fleets are ordering trailers for replacements in 2017, but not at the level of previous years. They also are not placing many orders for more than six months out. The refrigerated van segment continues to hold up well, while flatbeds are struggling to find the bottom of the cycle.
“The order rates in September and October indicate that trailer build will continue to fall at a moderate rate. November production will be somewhat weaker, and December will be impacted by extended shutdown days around the holidays. January builds should increase, but are dependent on orders staying stable in November and December. Backlogs are still at a reasonably good level, and it appears 2017 will resemble 2013 in many regards.”