FTR reports final March net trailer orders at 20,500 units, down 20% m/m but up 50% versus a year ago.
The dropoff from February for both dry and refrigerated vans is simply due to the start of a typical seasonal decline for trailer orders, and the strong year over year comparison reflecting a positive trailer order environment. Softening backlogs are also consistent with normal market conditions; production for March was robust.
Trailer orders have now totaled 246,000 units for the last twelve months.
Don Ake, FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles, commented, “The trailer market had a great production month. The OEMs finally started to increase build rates due to the strong orders of the past four months. Builds jumped an impressive 9% on a per day level over February. Production was basically equal to last March, which is a great sign moving into the seasonally strong second quarter.
“The additional good news is the trailer vocational segments are showing some signs of life. Flatbed production was up considerably, as were dump trailers. The tanker segments are also moving in the right direction. These vocational segments continue to track closely with Class 8 trucks, which are also on the upswing. Fleets are growing much more optimistic about the business environment and they are buying more trailers again after a slump the second half of last year.”