The latest data from FTR shows that October U.S. trailer net orders rose by more than 6,000 units month-over-month (about 21%) to nearly 34,400 units. Orders were down just over 21% year-over-year but were at their highest level since December 2022. Orders over the last 12 months totaled 294,000 units. Build improved 4% m/m in October but lagged net orders, so backlogs rose for only the second time in 2023. September had been the first month of the year to see an increase in backlogs, FTR noted.
“Trailer backlogs relative to production levels overall are in line with normal levels historically, but they vary notably by trailer type,” said Eric Starks, FTR’s chairman of the board. “The backlog-to-build ratios for van trailers are still elevated and should support current production levels. The ratios are much lower for more specialized trailer types, raising concerns over possible cuts in production down the road. On the plus side, the order increases in October for most specialized trailer types greatly outperformed dry van and refrigerated van trailers.”