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FTR: Trailer orders take seasonal dip in May; still on track for record year

Preliminary May U.S. trailer orders came in at 21,200 units, FTR reports, continuing the traditional seasonal drop in orders, albeit at still strong levels. 

Trailer orders have now totaled 335,000 units for the past twelve months. If OEM’s could build all the orders being placed, 2018 would easily be a record year, FTR suggests. However, supplier constraints on key components and fabrications are holding back production. Even so, production is robust and still expected to set a record. 

“At twenty-one thousand plus, this is still an impressive order total for May.  In 2015, May was the weakest order month and this May’s number is 30% higher than that,” Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, said. “There is a chance that May could be the lowest month this year if fleets start ordering for 2019 early. Some OEMs are booked solid for 2018 and are soliciting orders for next year.”

The “capacity crunch” in trucking has contributed to the trailer order surge, Ake noted.

“The supply chain is getting plugged up and some full trailers are sitting at warehouses for days, waiting to be unloaded,” he said. “These trailers are in effect pulled out of service in these regions causing temporary availability issues. Shipments are being delayed in many markets and more trailers are needed to keep the freight moving.”

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