FOR the first time in history, the Bureau of Census reported that trailer manufacturers shipped more than 30,000 trailers in a single month.
The industry turned out an estimated 30,706 complete trailers in June, according to preliminary estimates published by the Bureau of Census. It was the second time this year that preliminary monthly figures exceeded the industry's most productive month on record-28,957 complete trailers shipped during March 1995.
These preliminary figures, however, are subject to change. The adjusted figures for 1997, reported on Page 00 of this issue, were 14% lower than the preliminary estimates previously published. Even if the 30,706 figure were 14% too high, however, a downwardly revised total would still make June the second-most productive month in industry history.
Compared with the revised figures for June 1997, the estimates for June 1998 for complete trailers were up 57% from June 1997. Vans were up 85%, despite a 13% decline in insulated vans. Tanks topped June 1997 output by 36% with all subcategories posting increases.
Despite some stunning gains for the industry as a whole in June, not all types of trailers shared in the prosperity. Among the trailers finishing below year-ago levels, platforms were down 15%, lowbeds slipped 3% from June 1997, and dump trailers were off 11%.
Halfway through the year, trailer manufacturers shipped an estimated 166,469 complete trailers, up 48% from the first six months of 1997. At this rate, the industry would ship more than 330,000 trailers for the year-up sharply from the record of 279,144 set in 1995. According to the six monthly reports from the Census Bureau, manufacturers shipped an average of 27,745 complete trailers per month during the first half of 1998.
As was the case with June, vans were the big winners during the first six months of this year. The Census Bureau counted 136,470 vans during the first half of the year, up 71% from the corresponding period of 1997.
For other categories:
* The 3,133 tanks shipped during the first half were 39% more than were turned out during the first half of 1997.
* Platforms were down 15%. Manufacturers shipped 10,644 for the first half of 1998, compared with shipments of 12,501 trailers for the first six months of 1997.
* Lowbeds reached the midpoint of 1998 with shipments of 6,535, up 3%.
* Dump trailers were down 22%, with shipments of 5,164.
* Containers and container chassis were off 32% from the first six months of 1997. The industry shipped a combined 11,826 containers and container chassis during the first half of 1998.
Truck Sales Up Truck sales were up 11% halfway through 1998, according to figures compiled by the American Automobile Manufacturers Association. Dealers sold 3,684,329 trucks during the first six months of 1998.
Class 1 trucks (GVW ratings of 6,000 pounds or less) were up 8% for the period, with sales of 2,425,911 units. For June, sales were up 25%.
Class 2 trucks (GVW ratings of 6,001 to 10,000 pounds) were selling exceptionally well-up 20% from the first six months of 1997. The 199,016 Class 2 trucks sold during June were 41% more than were sold a year earlier.
Class 3 trucks (GVW ratings of 10,001 to 14,000 pounds) were even stronger. Year-to-date sales were up 58%, while sales during June were 87% above year-earlier levels. Dealers sold 46,179 Class 3 trucks during the first half and 9,045 in June.
Class 4 trucks (GVW ratings of 14,001 to 16,000 pounds) were the only class to show declines for both year-to-date and for June in particular. The 21,282 Class 4 trucks sold during the first six months of 1998 were 25% off from last year's pace, while June sales of 3,841 Class 4 trucks were 19% below June 1997.
Class 6 trucks (GVW ratings of 19,501 to 26,000 pounds) sizzled in June-up 57% year-to-date and 72% for June. Totals were 14,574 Class 6 trucks sold during the first six months. Of those, 2,785 were sold in June.
Class 7 trucks (GVW ratings of 26,001 to 33,000 pounds) were relatively unchanged. Dealers sold 55,933 Class 7 trucks in the first half of 1998, down 1% from the corresponding period of 1997. For June, the 9,946 Class 7 trucks sold during the month were 1% more than last year's sales.
Class 8 trucks (GVW ratings above 33,000 pounds) were up 17% for the year and 24% for the month. Customers bought 98,549 Class 8 trucks during the first half of this year, including 18,043 in June.