LAST YEAR was one of the best on record, but not as strong as originally thought, according to revised figures published by the U S Bureau of Census.
Manufacturers shipped 202,102 complete trailers during 1996, down 10% from preliminary estimates. The total of the 12 monthly reports published for 1996 indicated the industry turned out 224,753-the third-best year on record. But the Census Bureau recently published its final report on trailer shipments for 1996, downwardly adjusting the total below that of 1974, 1979, and 1984, as well as the two best years in history-1994 and 1995.
This year, however, is shaping up to be a better one than 1996. Through the first six months of 1997, the industry has shipped an estimated 125,516 complete trailers, up 21% from the 103,360 trailers shipped during the first half of 1996. The increase primarily came from the van segment, particularly dry-freight trailers. But other types of trailers also were performing well, including platforms, up 21% for the first half of the year; pole and logging trailers, up 20%; and lowbeds, up 8%. Tanks, however, were off 21% from the first half of 1996.
Truck Sales Steady Retail truck sales remained virtually unchanged halfway through 1997. Total retail sales were 3,309,902, compared with 3,301,728 for the first six months of 1996. The sales for the first half of 1997 and their comparison with the corresponding period last year are as follows:
* Class 1 trucks (GVW ratings of 6,000 pounds or less) 2,256,189, up 3%.
* Class 2 trucks (GVW ratings of 6,001 to 10,000 pounds) 841,328, down 6%.
* Class 3 trucks (GVW ratings of 10,001 to 14,000 pounds) 29,227, up 21%.
* Class 4 trucks (GVW ratings of 14,001 to 16,000 pounds) 28,370, down 7%.
Class 6 trucks (GVW ratings of 19,501 to 26,000 pounds) 9,299, down 9%.
Class 7 trucks (GVW ratings of 26,001 to 33,000 pounds) 56,352, up 2%.
Class 8 trucks (GVW ratings above 33,000 pounds) 84,052, down 5%.