Trailer Market Activity in 2000 Overstated

Dear Editor:

Two weeks ago, the Department of Commerce (DoC) revised their original year-2000 estimates of United States trailer factory shipments. We are sending this letter out to inform database participants and subscribers to our SOI: US Trailers report that the DoC's revised report significantly overstates trailer market activity in 2000.

While we have not finalized our review, the initial analysis indicates that the largest problems in the DoC's report are in the van trailer numbers. Other numbers that we take exception to at this point are platform and specialty trailers and containers and chassis.

ACTR's (America's Commercial Transportation Research) trailer model showed that there were 201,600 van trailers shipped by US manufacturers in 2000, while the DoC indicated that there were 218,600 units. Adjusting the DoC's data to line up with the ACTR database raises the final DoC number for total vans to 224,400 units. A crosscheck using multiple data sources supports our conclusion that the DoC numbers are wrong.

ACTR database participants reported 2000 van trailer factory shipments: 189,800 units

Non-participating US van manufacturers using 2000 state registration files: 12,500 units

Total vans: 202,300 units

In the case of platform trailers, ACTR reported the market at 24,400 units. The DoC's report restated the platform trailer market at 27,300 units from 20,500 units.

Database participants 2000 platform trailer factory shipments reported to ACTR: 18,800 units

Non-participating US platform manufacturers 2000 state registration files: 6,800 units

Total platforms: 25,600 units

Moving in the opposite direction, the adjusted DoC number for chassis was 38,400 units, while ACTR reported 43,400 chassis shipped in 2000. Note that database participants shipped more chassis last year than the DoC reported as a final number.

Database participants 2000 chassis factory shipments reported to ACTR: 38,600 units

Non-participating US chassis manufacturers 2000 state registration files: 7,100 units

Total chassis: 45,700 units

As most are aware, the DoC's M336L (formerly M37L) report was discontinued as of December 2000. The document under scrutiny, the 2000 summary of the M336L, was the DoC's last report in the series, a going-away present as it were. Hence, it is unclear whether the DoC will issue further revisions.

After all of the information is digested, we will finalize the 2000 numbers in our database. Those changes will be in place by the October report. We will be discussing this data in detail at the ACTR fall seminar.

Kenny Vieth
ACT Research Co LLC
11545 N Marr Rd, Columbus IN 47203

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