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Ftr Aug20 Trailers

August trailer orders soar on ‘pent-up demand’: FTR

Sept. 15, 2020
Fleets feeling ‘much more confident,’ dealers placing restocking orders after record month

Preliminary U.S. net trailer orders for August jumped 49% from July to 28,700 units, the strongest activity since last October, FTR reports.

August orders were 174% above the same month during the previous year, with trailer orders for the last twelve months now totaling 191,000 units.

Dry van orders were particularly robust, with refrigerated vans also displaying strength. Flatbed orders improved from July but remain sluggish, as industrial freight continues to lag consumer freight, according to FTR. Backlogs are expected to rise to near pre-pandemic levels.

“August’s hearty order total was a welcome and needed surprise. The volume was much higher than expected and an indication that the industry is making a surprisingly quick recovery from the pandemic,” Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, said. “Backlogs should rise back to where they were in March, and the new orders solidify van production for most OEMs through this year. The strong August orders provide the industry with positive momentum for when fleets soon begin ordering for 2021.

“There was significant pent-up demand for van trailers coming out of the economic shutdowns. Now fleets are feeling much more confident about the freight markets and ordering trailers they would have booked in April or May, under normal conditions. There was also pent-up demand at the dealer level, with some dealers reporting record sales volumes for July and August, which are traditionally the slowest months of the year. Dealers now are placing restocking orders much sooner than expected.”