Trailer maker Wabash National Corp. has put the finishing touches on a three-year purchase agreement with refrigerated truckload carrier Prime Inc. to buy 4,000 of Wabash’s ArcticLite reefer van trailers. Wabash added that it plans to build 725 of those trailers in 2010 alone.
The deal with Prime follows another large order Wabash wrapped up Swift Transportation Co. for 3,100 of its DuraPlate HD dry vans, to be built and delivered over the next 12 months.
These orders are welcome news for the Lafayette, IN-based trailer maker, which has struggled financially for several years due to an industry-wide decline in orders coupled with the harsh global economic recession
According to ACT Research, trailer sales in the U.S. as a whole dropped to 79,432 units in 2009 – a nearly 50% drop from 144,377 in 2008 and an over 75% decline from 277,398 units in 2006.
Wabash noted its new trailer sales in the fourth quarter last year totaled 3,300 units, representing a 65% decline from the same quarter in 2008. Though it posted profits of $10.9 million on net sales of $85 million in the fourth quarter last year, for all of 2009, Wabash’s net loss totaled $101.8 million on sales of $338 million, compared to its net loss of $125.8 million on sales of $836 million in 2008.
Wabash trailers will also include Haldex brakes, from Haldex Commercial Vehicle Systems, as a standard option.
Haldex noted that its gold seal spring brakes offer: powder-coating to resist corrosion and fatigue; a double O-ring center seal and special wear rings to extend service life and protect against air leakage between chambers; and orbital riveted adapter push rod discs that permanently attached for greater durability.