Customers ordered 15,200 truck trailers in May, 14% below April’s net orders and 29% compared with May 2014, according to figures compiled by FTR Associates, Bloomington, Indiana.
Orders tend to slide in the summer, the market analyst firm said, but this year it arrived earlier and more pronounced than normal. FTR points out, however, there is still plenty of backlog available to support strong build rates through the end of the year. U.S. trailer orders have annualized over the past twelve months at 326,000 units.
While backlogs are strong, they have fallen 15% since the January peak. Dry van, flatbed, and liquid tank were the primary segments affected by the lower order rate in May. Refrigerated vans and the dump trailer market continue with positive comparisons. Production remains steady for all trailer types.
Don Ake, FTR vice-president of commercial vehicles, said that “The market has peaked in terms of orders and backlog and has started to moderate. This is to be expected, and conditions appear to be very normal. The market descent has started, and, by all indications, it appears we are headed to the expected soft landing. Order rates should continue to fall for the next few months. Vocational trailers, except for dumps, have started to weaken faster than vans. This is due to the cutbacks in the energy markets, exports, and some industrial sectors of the economy. Higher inventories indicate fleets are incorporating new trailers into use at a moderate pace.”
To contact FTR, send an email to [email protected] or call (888) 988-1699 ext. 1.