BLOOMINGTON, IN – Trailer orders in the U.S. reached 32,800 units in January – down 4% month over month, but up 86% year over year, FTR reports.
The orders were strong for the third consecutive month and continue to exceed expectations, the analysts say. Backlogs also jumped for the third straight month.
Dry van orders surged 146% over last year, while reefer orders dropped 52% when compared to December. Orders reached 234,000 units over the last year, and while production began the year in a weak position it was up 8% month over month.
“It appears the trailer order cycle has shifted back a few months this year. Instead of starting in September or October, the order season began in November. This resulted in an unusually high number of orders in January,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president – commercial vehicles. “Uncertainty over the presidential election is probably the reason for this. Business confidence is running high, so we still got our traditional run of three months of strong orders, it just came later than typical.”
It bodes well for freight and the economy in general for 2017, he says.
“Fleets are showing confidence in the market by placing a strong number of requirement orders for the year. These are not all replacement orders, so some fleets are expecting to expand sometime this year. The strength is centered on dry vans, however. The vocational segments have bottomed out, and have not really began a recovery, very similar to Class 8 trucks.”