Trailer Shipments Bounce Back in June

TRAILER SHIPMENTS resumed their upward trend in June following two consecutive months of modest declines.

Manufacturers shipped an estimated 23,708 complete trailers in June, according to preliminary figures compiled by the U S Bureau of Census. The total, up 3% from May, was within 200 trailers of matching March as the most productive month during the first half of 1999.

In addition to the complete trailers, manufacturers shipped an estimated 1,901 containers and container chassis (up 32% from May) and 226 dollies and converter gear (down 15%).

Most types of trailers posted increases compared with May. Livestock trailers and open-top vans both were up 53% from the previous month, and asphalt tanks increased 51%.

For the first six months of 1999, manufacturers shipped an estimated 140,144 complete trailers-putting the industry on a pace to have one of its best years on record.

Truck Sales Up Retail truck sales continued to grow in June, according to figures compiled by Ward's Communications. Dealers sold a total of 761,702 trucks during the month, up 4% from a year ago. Midway through 1999, retail sales were already above four million, up 9% from last year's record pace.

Class 1 trucks (GVW ratings of 6,000 pounds or less) may be the largest selling segment of the truck market, but they were the slowest growing. The 486,870 Class 1 trucks sold in June were virtually unchanged from a year earlier, while the year-to-date total of 2,525,366 Class 1 trucks sold during the first half of 1999 were 4% more than the total sold for the first six months of 1998.

Class 2 trucks (GVW ratings of 6,001 to 10,000 pounds) were up 8% from a year earlier the month and 14% for the first half of the year. Customers purchased 215,567 Class 2 trucks for the month and 1,157,041 during the first half of 1999.

Class 3 trucks (GVW ratings of 10,001 to 14,000 pounds) easily topped year-earlier levels for the month and year. The 11,389 Class 3 trucks sold in June were 26% more than the corresponding month of 1998, while the 61,808 Class 3 trucks sold in the first six months represent a 34% increase.

Class 4 trucks (GVW ratings of 14,001 to 16,000 pounds) finished the first half of the year with a 29% sales increase for the month and 22% for the first half of the year. Dealers sold 4,952 and 26,003 Class 4 trucks for June and the first six months of 1999 respectively.

Class 5 trucks (GVW ratings of 16,001 to 19,500 pounds) were up 41% compared with June 1998 and grew by 55% year-to-date. The market absorbed 3,013 Class 5 trucks for the month, bringing to 16,462 the number of Class 5 trucks sold during the first half of 1999.

Class 6 trucks (GVW ratings of 19,501 to 26,000 pounds) had a 50% sales increase for the month and 45% for the year. Customers bought 4,180 Class 6 trucks during June and 21,137 in the first half of 1999.

Class 7 trucks (GVW ratings of 26,001 to 33,000 pounds) grew by 16% and 22% in June and during the first half of 1999 respectively. The numbers: 11,578 sold for the month and 68,331 during the first six months of 1999.

Class 8 trucks (GVW ratings above 33,000 pounds) also were performing well halfway through the year-up 34% in June and 30% year-to-date. Dealers sold 24,153 Class 8 trucks for the month and 128,044 for the first six months of the year. In other areas: * Intermodal shipments through the first seven months of 1999 edged up, according to figures compiled by the Association of American Railroads. The 1,868,963 trailers carried during the period were down 1.5%, while container shipments were up 4.3%. Overall intermodal traffic increased 2.1%. * Industrial production rose 0.2% in June after gains of 0.2% in May and 0.3% in April, according to the Federal Reserve. At 134.2% of its 1992 average, industrial production in June was 2.7 percent higher than in June 1998.

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