May trailer orders continued a downward slide with 15,200 units moved in the month, decreasing 14% from April and down 29% year over year, according to this month’s FTR report.
While trailer orders tend to drop during the summer months, it came earlier and is more pronounced this year, according to FTR. Despite this, there is still a strong backlog available from previous month's orders to support a strong build rate through the end of the year.
“The market descent has started, and, by all indications, it appears we are headed to the expected soft landing,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR. “Order rates should continue to fall for the next few months.”
Backlogs have fallen 15% from their peak in January. Dry van, flatbed and liquid tank were the primary segments affected by the lower rate in May while reefers and dump trailer markets were positive. Production was steady for all trailer types.
“Vocational trailers, except for dumps, have started to weaken faster than vans,” said Ake. “This is due to the cut backs in the energy markets, exports, and some industrial sectors of the economy.”