U.S. trailer net order numbers in March missed analyst projections, coming in well below expectations, according to an FTR report.
With 13,800 units ordered for the month, trailer numbers were down 35% from February and 39% compared from a year ago. March posted the worst order activity since July of 2013.
Despite the disappointing month, orders in the past 12 months have totaled a healthy 291,000 units and backlogs are only down 6% year-over-year.
“The long, strong run of the trailer market finally appears to be moderating,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “Backlogs are still robust, so production should be steady for the next several months.”
Dump trailers orders were the highest of any segment with all others declining for the month. Dry van orders were low because most fleets placed 2016 orders as far back as August 2015.
Trailer build was flat for the third consecutive month with the exception being refrigerated vans, whose build was up 11% per day.
“Dry van orders were weak because the vast majority of fleets placed their 2016 orders from August 2015 through February 2016. A large chunk of these orders were to replace older units that were not upgraded due to the aftermath of the Great Recession,” said Ake. “The big question now is how solid the backlog will be if the economy remains stagnant.”