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FTR reports COVID-19 virus brings down February trailer orders 45% y/y

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David Sickels is the Associate Editor of Tire Review and Fleet Equipment magazines. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

Trailers order activity for February felt the impact of the COVID-19 virus, FTR reports, sliding to a paltry 13,000 units, the lowest total for the month of February since the recession year of 2009. February 2020 trailer orders were down 20% m/m and 45% y/y.

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Trailer orders have now totaled 184,000 units for the past twelve months. Trailer orders were generally weak across all segments and OEMs. Cancellations were up, representing the anxiety in the market and the country. Order trends largely mirrored what occurred in the Class 8 market.

“This is about as much uncertainty as can be injected into the trailer market. There are too many unknowns, and this, of course, runs across all sectors of the economy, which means it impacts all segments of trailers,” Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, said. “Few fleets are ordering, and no one is placing large orders in this chaotic environment.

“With the event cancellations and societal restrictions being implemented in March, it is expected that orders will fall further. Orders should recover significantly when the situation stabilizes. The virus is expected to cause some shifts in freight demand as consumers change their buying habits in the short-term. Fleets have enough equipment to handle current freight volumes, so they can afford to wait until the crisis abates before ordering new trailers.”

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