According to FTR, trailer net orders for February remain in line with expectations, but are beginning to moderate. Figures indicate 20,400 orders in February, down 26% from January and off 32% year-over-year.
Backlogs fell for the first time in six months, FTR said. Trailer orders have exceeded 347,000 for the past 12 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 year-over-year and liquid tank orders cooling off.
February trailer build increased 1% month-over-month to 23,400 units.
“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,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles. “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% year-over-year, so production should remain strong at least through Q3.
“We have no concerns about the large drop in orders this month,” Ake added. “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 is forecasting an 8% gain year-over-year.