According to the numbers from FTR, February net trailer orders came in at 25,800 units, down 21% month-over-month but up 20% versus a year ago. Even with the drop off from January, trailer orders have maintained some of the momentum of the previous three months. The 2017 February orders were the highest for the month since 2014. Refrigerated van orders stayed at historically high levels and dry van orders were steady this month. Backlogs continue to climb for the fourth consecutive month, with production improving moderately, as expected. Trailer net orders have now totaled 239,000 units for the last twelve months.
“This is the fourth solid month of orders for trailers,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles. “Van fleets are now placing orders for the second half of the year, confident that the economy and freight will continue to grow. Dealers are also restocking after being cautious the last half of 2016. Small fleets have increased their ordering activity in 2017, adding to the market momentum. In addition, vocational markets are beginning to recover after a tough 2016. Orders indicate that 2017 will be a solid year. Right now, the trailer market is similar to Class 8 trucks in that production has not yet responded to the stronger orders of the last few months. We expect production to start a moderate upslope soon. The transportation sector is experiencing an improvement in business confidence and this is showing up in the order totals.”