FTR has reported that as expected final August net trailer orders rebounded from July to 14,600 units and August order activity was up 9 percent month-over-month and 4 percent year-over-year.
All trailer segments had small gains with the exception of flatbed, which fell in August after a strong July.
Orders have now totaled 265,000 units the last 12 months.
Backlogs fell another 11 percent and are expected to bottom out for the year in September. Production per day was unchanged from July.
“August was another quiet, summer month for trailers,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “Orders remained at the bottom of the cycle as expected. The good news is that build rates remained sturdy for van trailers and the vocational segments also held steady. Backlogs are lower than last year at this time but should start to recover in a couple months.
“2017 will turn out to be another solid trailer year, pushed up by growing freight demand and tighter industry capacity. Next year is forecasted to be just as strong, and the vocational segments should continue to grow as the industrial economy improves.”
Meanwhile, with August tying March for the longest trailer OEM work schedule of the year, a sequential increase in U.S. trailer build was expected in August, according to ACT Research.
“The longer schedule gave OEMs a bit of operational breathing room,” said Frank Maly, ACT director–CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “Daily production of 1,189 units per day, the third highest of the year, was off 7 units per day from July.”
The total U.S. trailer backlog was off 10 percent month over month and 11 percent lower year over year in August, ACT said.
“Backlog slipped below 100,000 for the first time since last October,” Maly said. “While most vocational/specialty trailers backlogs are up versus last year, both dry vans and reefers are in the red, off 11 percent and 39 percent, respectively.”