February trailer orders dropped well below January figures while backlogs for orders fell for the first time in six months, according to the latest FTR report. Net trailer orders were 20,600 units for the month, falling 26%.
While orders have decreased, production should remain strong through fall 2015, according to FTR. Orders were expected to cool off somewhat after hitting a record-setting pace toward the end to 2014. Trailer orders exceeded 347,000 orders in the past 12 months.
“Orders fell significantly, but this was to be expected at some point,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “Many OEMs are booked solid through Q3 with large fleets having placed all their orders for 2015 requirements.”
Dry van orders fell to the lowest level since July 2014 while orders for reefers and dry tanks remained strong. Flatbed and dump trailer activity was flat and liquid tank orders fell. February’s trailer build increased 1% over January to 23,400 units.
The drop off in numbers is no cause for alarm, says FTR, with 2015 already booked so full that there are few build slots left for new orders.
“The industry can live off the backlog as we see how the rest of the year plays out,” said Ake. “FTR forecasts an estimated 8% gain year-over-year and the current order activity doesn’t change that outlook at all.”