Trailer orders rebound to near-term high

user-gravatar Headshot
Updated Oct 16, 2019
suddath_trailer_2012_0405 (1)-2019-01-18-11-06

Preliminary trailer orders for September reached 19,000 units according to FTR, their highest level since February.

Order activity last month, which was up 81% month-over-month but down 66% year-over-year, was propped up by fleets placing orders for 2020. September’s net orders could have been even higher but took a hit from fleet cancellations of excess 2019 orders.

“This is a decent order amount for September. It indicates fleets are somewhat optimistic about 2020,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “Orders should rise to healthy levels in October, as more large fleets place their 2020 orders. The increase in September orders signals the trailer market is becoming much more stable and should be settling into historic order patterns, after a turbulent couple of years.”

Trailer production should remain sturdy in September but somewhat off recent months with backlogs expected to drop for the ninth consecutive month, Ake said. Trailer orders for the past 12 months now total 264,000 units.

“Trailer sales are expected to dip in 2020 after hitting record volumes in 2019,” he added. “However, the forecast is still for a solid year based on moderate economic and freight growth, which should provide fleets with enough profits to buy new equipment.”