The drop-off in trailer shipments continued in September, according to preliminary figures compiled by the U S Bureau of Census.
Latest figures show the industry shipping 18,486 complete trailers during September, down 9% from the previous month and off 26% from September 1999.
While shipments have been changing directions almost monthly - down one month and up the next - the overall trend has been a slowing down of trailer shipments ever since the industry shipped almost 27,000 complete trailers in October 1999.
Almost every type of trailer posted losses compared with September 1999. Tanks for hauling flammable liquids were one of the few exceptions, up 45% from September 1999. Pole and logging trailers were up 108%, and bulk commodity trailers edged up 1%.
In addition to the 18,486 complete trailers shipped in September, the industry turned out an estimated 1,949 containers and container chassis, down 28% from a year earlier. Dollies and converter gear - the other segment of the incomplete trailer market - showed an increase. Manufacturers produced an estimated 303 dollies and converter gear for the month, up 13% from September 1999.
With the first three quarters of 2000 in the books, trailer shipments were off 14% from last year's record pace. Through the first nine months of 2000, manufacturers shipped an estimated 193,400 complete trailers. At this rate, trailer manufacturers would ship approximately 257,900 complete trailers in 2000 - the lowest total since 1997. However, the rate of the slowdown appears more significant as the year progresses. During the first quarter, the industry shipped an estimated 70,082 complete trailers. In April, May, and June, shipments totaled 65,564 complete trailers, down 6%. Shipments slowed an additional 12% during the third quarter, with manufacturers shipping 57,754 complete trailers.
Truck Sales Slow Truck sales joined trailers on the down side in September, according to figures compiled by Ward's Communications.
Class 1 trucks (GVW ratings of 6,000 pounds or less) edged up 4% from September 1999. The 3,995,903 Class 1 trucks sold during the first nine months of 2000 were 6% more than the volume sold year-to-date in 1999.
Class 2 trucks (GVW ratings of 6,001 to 10,000 pounds) rose 11% for the month and 6% year to date. Sales were 204,691 in September and 1,854,205 for the first nine months of 2000.
Class 3 trucks (GVW ratings of 10,001 to 14,000 pounds) were down 15% in September and 2% year to date. Dealers sold 9,298 Class 3 trucks during the month and 89,786 for the first nine months of 2000.
Class 4 trucks (GVW ratings of 14,001 to 16,000 pounds) finished September with sales of 3,558, down 10% from September 1999. Sales year to date slipped 4%.
Class 5 trucks (GVW ratings of 16,001 to 19,500 pounds) lost 15% for the month and 5% for the year. Customers bought 2,134 Class 5 trucks in September and 22,268 for the year.
Class 6 trucks (GVW ratings of 19,501 to 26,000 pounds) dropped 35% in September but remained 21% ahead of last year's pace. The 3,156 trucks sold in September brought to 42,220 the total sold during the first nine months of 2000.
Class 7 trucks (GVW ratings of 26,001 to 33,000 pounds) lost 12% in September, driving year-to-date sales into negative territory. Dealers sold 9,243 Class 7 trucks in September and 97,518 during the first nine months of 2000.
Class 8 trucks (GVW ratings above 33,000 pounds) were off 39% when compared with sales from September 1999 and were down 12% for the year. Customers bought 13,768 Class 8 trucks in September and 170,057 through the first nine months of 2000.