March 2008 trailer orders lower than expected, according to Bear Sterns report

March 2008 trailer orders, released by A.C.T., were 11,308, well below the 15,000-17,000 range forecast by Bear Stearns.

On a year-over-year basis, orders for total trailers and dry vans were down 38% and 47%, respectively.

Dry van orders were 5,067 in March (vs. 15,451 in February), down 47% year-over-year (vs. up 27% year-over-year in February). Flatbed orders were 1,027 in March (vs. 1,221 in February), down 62% year-over-year (vs. down 30% year-over-year in February).

Dry van builds were 6,180, down 45% year-over-year (vs. down 39% year-over-year in February). Total trailer builds were 12,271 in March, down 41% year-over-year (vs. down 38% year-over-year in February).

Total trailer backlog-to-build ratios improved 20% year-over-year to 6.3x (vs. improvement of 4% year-over-year to 6.4x in February). Dry van backlog-to-build ratios improved 32% year-over-year to 7.2x (vs. improvement of 9% year-over-year to 7.0x in February).

Dry van inventories were 6,527 in March (vs. 7,317 in February), down 30% year-over-year (vs. down 29% year-over-year in February). Dry van inventories are now roughly 840 units higher than they were at the end of 2007.

Total trailer cancellation rates were 9% in March (vs. 1% in February), improving 350bp year-over-year (vs. improvement of 450bp year-over-year in February). Dry van cancellations were 10% (vs. 1% in February), improving 490bp (vs. improvement of 450bp year-over-year in February).

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