Trailer order numbers hit lowest point since 2010

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Updated Jun 21, 2016

Kiser Safety Lighting System for TrailersU.S. trailer net orders for May settled at 13,300 units, weakest order month since August 2010.

May’s total slid 16 percent month-over-month and was down 15 percent year-over-year, according to FTR. Orders have totaled 286,000 units for the last 12 months and backlogs are now down 9 percent year-over-year.

Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, says May’s low total was expected and that the trailer market is operating normally at this point in the yearly cycle, adding he expects it to continue on this path for the next several months.

“There is a concern because inventories have increased for five straight months and are getting somewhat elevated,” he says. “We are probably at or approaching the top of this production upcycle.”

Historically, Frank Maly, director CV transportation analysis & research for ACT Research, says slow May orders are the result a combination of softer gross orders along with some mid-year adjustments to orders previously booked with OEMs.

Dry van orders dropped 20 percent month-over-month, but that was expected based on strong backlogs, Ake adds. Refrigerated van orders held fairly steady versus last month. Flatbed, tanker, and dump trailer orders were comparable to April’s totals.

Production increased 3 percent over April.

“Dry Van and Reefer production should remain steady due the high backlogs,” Ake says, “but the market is starting to show some tiredness after a very impressive run. The flatbed and tanker segments are displaying some stability, so hopefully they have stopped their decline.”