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FTR: Final net trailer orders continue to climb to highest level so far in 2020

Aug. 19, 2020
OEMS feel better about business conditions than they did in Q2, according to FTR’s Don Ake.

FTR Intel (FTR) reports final net trailer orders continued to climb in July, reaching 19,300 units, their highest level for the year so far. July order activity was up 33% from June and +84% y/y. Trailer orders now total 173,000 for the past twelve months.

“July’s order volume is significant, as it allows most OEMs to maintain production rates for the next few months. Fleets are displaying renewed confidence in the freight markets and have increased their ordering volumes accordingly,” commented Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR. “OEM’s also feel much better about business conditions than they did in Q2. While sales are not vibrant, they are still much better than were expected only a couple of months ago. The industry is making a solid comeback considering the circumstances.”

Dry van orders sustained their momentum after diving perspicuously during the pandemic.  Refrigerated van orders were solid for the second straight month. However, flatbed orders remained soft, as the manufacturing sector struggles to regain its footing. Backlogs should begin to stabilize, providing a base for higher 2021 production.

“The best news about July is that some of the orders came from dealers. OEMs were concerned that their dealers were overstocked in May and that would limit future production,” Ake continued. “However, dealer sales were stronger than expected in June and July, prompting dealers to place some restocking orders. This indicates some medium and small fleets are finding plenty of freight to haul. The improved business conditions also indicate larger fleets are beginning to replace older trailers, after pausing during the pandemic.”

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