February’s U.S. Trailer net orders were 20,400 units, 26% below January figures and 32% below February 2014, according to FTR Associates.
The trailer market continues to moderate after record-setting orders in 2014Q4. Backlogs fell for the first time in six months. Trailer orders have exceeded 347,000 for the past twelve months.
In February, orders for dry vans fell to their lowest level since July 2014 but orders for refrigerated vans and dry tanks remained strong. For other trailer types, the activity was mixed with flatbed and dump trailer activity flat Y/Y and liquid tank orders cooling off. February trailer build increased 1% M/M to 23,400 units.
Don Ake, FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles, said, “Orders fell significantly, but this was to be expected at some point. Many OEMs are booked solid through Q3 with large fleets having placed all their orders for 2015 requirements. With backlogs falling in February, it appears this is the peak in the current order cycle. Even though backlogs have fallen off, they are up 61% Y/Y, so production should remain strong at least through Q3.
“We have no concerns about the large drop in orders this month. The year is nearly booked full so there are not many build slots left for new orders. The industry can live off the backlog as we see how the rest of the year plays out. FTR forecasts an estimated 8% gain Y/Y and the current order activity doesn’t change that outlook at all.”
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