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Trailer Orders Are Up but Still Below Last Year’s Levels

September 13, 2016

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Preliminary numbers for U.S. net trailer orders are projected to be up in August after weak order numbers in July, according to ACT Research.

ACT is projecting trailer orders of 15,300 units, up from a dismal 10,147 orders in July. July was the weakest order month since January 2010 and was down nearly 25% from June.

“Volume rebounded in August after a dramatically weak July,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research. “While the 50% month-to-month gain for the industry was certainly welcome news, that progress is somewhat tempered by the year-over-year performance; net orders are down almost 38% versus August 2015.”

While August is typically a modest month for orders, the weak numbers so far compared with last year could indicate that fleets are cautious about committing to new trailer orders into next year.

“Year-over-year performance implies caution by fleets regarding their investment commitments, and likely sets the industry up for a restrained 2016/17 order season,” said Maly. “Initial reports also indicated higher cancellation activity in August, a further indication of shifting fleet intentions.”

Analysts at Stifel Transportation and Logistics expect September orders to increase over August but said they will still fall short of last year’s numbers. Manufacturers will more fully open their order books for 2017 in September to fleets.

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