Trailer orders stay healthy in February

March 16, 2017
February orders bolster stronger forecast for 2017 and 2018 trailer production levels.

Preliminary net trailer order estimates topped 26,400 units for February, according to data tracked by ACT Research, with order backlogs growing in several segments, particularly for dry van units.

“We’ve seen delayed timing this order season, as fleets appeared to wait to make their investment decisions ‘post-election.’ That makes analysis of monthly changes as well as year-over-year results a bit challenging,” noted Frank Maly, ACT’s director CV transportation analysis and research, in a statement.

“The January to February decline in net orders, roughly a 20% slide, is much more in line with expectations for the December to January timeframe,” he said. “So this delay in the overall order season has the opposite impact on year-over-year comps; February will be roughly 24% better than the same month last year.”

Maly added that cancelations – defined by ACT as a percent of the trailer order backlog – continued “at a tolerable level, although in February they appear to have drifted upward to the highest rate posted since October.”

Additionally, he said it appears refrigerated trailer order backlogs held steady for February, while both the dry van and total industry order boards posted their fourth straight monthly gain.

Those positive trends convinced Michael Baudendistel, vice president of the transportation & logistics research group at Stifel Capital Markets, to increase his firm’s 2017 trailer production estimate from 250,000 to 265,000 units and its 2018 estimate from 240,000 to 255,000 units.

“[Though] production is likely to start the year weak, we expect strengthening in build rates, in excess of normal seasonality, as the year goes on,” he explained in a research brief.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...