Trailer orders highest in more than two years

THE trailer industry's prospects continued to brighten in the second quarter, according to the ACT Research quarter survey of trailer manufacturers.

Orders rose to their highest level in nine quarters (27 months), according to Kenny Vieth with ACT Research.

“While orders remained at strong levels through the second quarter, May and June were modestly lower than the preceding month,” Vieth said. “Preliminary indications suggest that orders slipped again in July. Despite the slippage, though, orders have remained stronger than the build rate.”

Through the second quarter of 2002, trailer manufacturers were receiving orders much faster than the production rate. By the end of June, order backlogs had risen to their highest level since early 2001. Growing order backlogs suggest that trailer production will continue to increase through the third quarter.

“Unless the economy retrenches, production growth is expected to continue though the fourth quarter and into nextyear,” Vieth says. “Despite improving production, factory shipments are expected to remain below year-ago levels until the fourth quarter.”

According to ACT Research, manufacturers shipped 23,108 van trailers during the second quarter, up 46% from the first quarter of this year. Compared with the second quarter of 2001, though, shipments were down 13%. Manufacturers shipped 26,580 vans between April and June last year.

All other types of trailers surged 37% compared with the prior quarter. In the second quarter of 2002, the industry shipped 9,103 trailers that were not vans, compared with 6,646 during the first three months of 2002. But compared with the 10,720 trailers shipped during the second quarter of 2001, shipments were off 15%.

For the first six months of 2002, van trailer shipments were down 29% from the corresponding period of 2001, and nonvans were off 28.5%. Overall, manufacturers shipped 63,352 trailers during the first half of 2002, compared with 96,891 for the first six months of 2001.

For more information, contact ACT Research at

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