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U.S. Trailer Backlog Improves Month Over Month, Build Up 2% Year Over Year

December 20, 2017

COLUMBUS, IN – Backlog continued to be positive in November, with a stronger than expected 18% sequential improvement, which was more than double the gains projected by seasonals. “Dry vans, up 23% month over month, and reefers, up 18% month over month, provided most of the support; most vocational trailer categories posted single-digit gains,” said Frank Maly, Director–CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. He continued, “Liquid tanks, up 24% month over month, were a notable exception.”

Total production was off 12% month over month, but up 2% year over year. The majority of that difference came from November’s holiday-impacted schedule, down two days from October. “Reefers posted the largest decline, with build off 20%,” said Maly. He continued, “That was more than twice the decline projected by seasonals and the weakest monthly production since November 2013. We expect reefer production rates to improve in December, before moving seasonally lower in Q1 2018.”

Commenting on shipments, Maly noted “Year-to-day, factory shipments have nearly caught up with last year. Through November, shipments are off a fraction of a percent, with the industry shipping over 263,000 trailers so far this year, and we project a small positive year-over-year gain when the full year results are in.”

ACT is the worldwide leading publisher of new and used commercial vehicle (CV) industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China CV market. ACT’s CV services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as the banking and investment community in North America, Europe and China.

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