ECONOMIC WATCH: Fleets’ ‘renewed confidence’ reflected in trailer orders

by Today's Trucking

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – U.S. trailer orders reached their highest level of the year in July, at 19,300 units, according to FTR.

July order activity was up 33% from June and 84% year-over-year. Orders were led by dry van demand, with refrigerated trailer orders also strong for the second straight month, while flatbed orders remained soft.

“July’s order volume is significant, as it allows most OEMs to maintain production rates for the next few months,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice-president, commercial vehicles. “Fleets are displaying renewed confidence in the freight markets and have increased their ordering volumes accordingly. OEMs also feel much better about business conditions than they did in Q2. While sales are not vibrant, they are still much better than were expected only a couple of months ago. The industry is making a solid comeback considering the circumstances.”

“The best news about July is that some of the orders came from dealers,” Ake added. “OEMs were concerned that their dealers were overstocked in May and that would limit future production. However, dealer sales were stronger than expected in June and July, prompting dealers to place some restocking orders. This indicates some medium and small fleets are finding plenty of freight to haul. The improved business conditions also indicate larger fleets are beginning to replace older trailers, after pausing during the pandemic.”

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