U.S. trailer net orders were 22,000 units in March, up 7% over February but down 25% over March 2014, according to FTR Associates.
Orders continue to weaken primarily because fleets have already placed their 2015 requirements. Trailer build increased 7.5% (per day) versus February, with backlogs falling, albeit still at a high level, for the second straight month. Orders have totaled 340,000 the past 12 months.
In March, dry van orders recovered nicely from February’s dip, up 37%, with refrigerated van orders falling to their lowest level since June. Build for both trailer types increased; dry vans were up 5% per day from February, and refrigerated vans set an all-time build record in the month. Flatbed orders have leveled out, but build remains very robust. Liquid and dry tanks along with dump trailers saw good order activity, and build rates for all were very solid during March.
Don Ake, FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles, commented, "Orders remain subdued, but when you consider how many orders have been placed in the last 12 months, and that backlogs are near record levels, this market has tremendous strength. OEMs are booking orders late into Q3 and Q4, and there are even some orders getting booked now for 2016.
"The big story in March was the increase in build. The OEMs were very productive coming out of the winter months. Refrigerated van, dump, and flatbed builds were significant. There is enough backlog to continue this momentum for several months."
To contact FTR, send an email to [email protected] or call (888) 988-1699 ext. 1.