FTR reports final January net trailer orders at 32,800 units, down 4% m/m but up 86% y/y.
Orders were very strong for the third consecutive month and again exceeded expectations in January. Backlogs likewise jumped for the third straight month to very healthy levels. Dry van orders were very sturdy, up a huge 146% y/y, but reefers orders slowed, down 52% from December.
Trailer orders have totaled 234,000 units for the past twelve months. Production did start off the year weaker, but was generally close to expectations and up 8% m/m.
Don Ake, FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles, commented, “It appears the trailer order cycle has shifted back a few months this year. Instead of starting in September or October, the order season began in November. This resulted in an unusually high number of orders in January. Uncertainty over the presidential election is probably the reason for this. Business confidence is running high, so we still got our traditional run of three months of strong orders, it just came later than typical.
“This is another good sign for trucking, freight and the economy for 2017. Fleets are showing confidence in the market by placing a strong number of requirement orders for the year. These are not all replacement orders, so some fleets are expecting to expand sometime this year. The strength is centered on dry vans, however. The vocational segments have bottomed out, and have not really begun a recovery, very similar to Class 8 trucks.”