BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR is reporting preliminary trailer orders for September at 19,000 units, the highest since February.
Trailer order activity rebounded from the recent doldrums as some fleets began placing orders for 2020. Orders were up 81% month-over-month but minus 66% year-over-year. September’s net orders could have been even higher but were negatively affected by fleet cancellations of excess 2019 orders.
Trailer production should remain sturdy in September but somewhat off recent months with backlogs expected to drop for the ninth consecutive month, FTR said, noting that trailer orders for the past 12 months now total 264,000 units.
“This is a decent order amount for September. It indicates fleets are somewhat optimistic about 2020,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. Orders should rise to healthy levels in October, as more large fleets place their 2020 orders. The increase in September orders signals the trailer market is becoming much more stable and should be settling into historic order patterns, after a turbulent couple of years.
“Trailer sales are expected to dip in 2020 after hitting record volumes in 2019. However, the forecast is still for a solid year based on moderate economic and freight growth, which should provide fleets with enough profits to buy new equipment.”