BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A 30% drop in January net trailer orders shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the strong order numbers posted in December, FTR reports.
There were 17,900 units ordered, down 30% from December and 37% from January 2015. However, the weaker activity comes on the heels of four consecutive months of strong orders, FTR points out.
Dry van orders hit their lowest volumes since May 2015 and flatbed orders also weakened. Refrigerated van orders were up 33% from December.
“Normally this would be a poor order month for January, but these are far from normal circumstances,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice-president, commercial vehicles. “Orders averaged over 33,000 for the previous four months, so a pullback of this magnitude was totally expected. Most large fleets have their orders in for the first half of the year, there are not many open build slots left.”
“Backlogs for vans are very robust, so, even if there are several weak order months, production should hold steady the first half of 2016,” Ake added. “Production this January was the same as January 2015. However, last year the market was on the upswing, and this year it is cooling off somewhat. Trailer production is expected to outpace truck production for the next several months.”