Trailer orders slide in January

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Updated Feb 21, 2019

Trailer orders last month slid 5 percent from the month prior to 26,300 units, according to FTR – a 39 percent dip year-over-year but higher than expected.

FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles Don Ake says the considerable year-over-year negative comparison is primarily the result of a spike in orders last January caused by fleets scrambling to catch up with freight growth.

“This was still a positive month for trailer orders considering how many orders are already in the backlog,” Ake says. “All trailer segments are expected to start off 2019 with momentum, which is good news for the industry and general economy.”

Cancellations were elevated in January for the second consecutive month as fleets shift orders around to better fit requirements. Orders during the month were particularly strong for specialty trailers, Ake says, noting trailer orders for the past 12 months now total 396,000.

“The business uncertainty and more subdued economic indicators have not impacted the trailer market as of yet,” he adds. “We do expect the market to cool slightly in the second half of the year as freight growth moderates, but for now, there is still a huge demand for new trailers across most segments.”

The order level meets current trailer production rates so backlogs remain near record levels, Ake says.