FTR Reports 2020 Trailer Orders Fell Off Significantly in November

12.16.19 | FTR

Bloomington, IN (December 16, 2019) FTR reports that preliminary trailer orders for November at 20,200 units fell 34% from October, as fleets are becoming more cautious about freight conditions in 2020. On a year-over-year comparison, orders were also down 55% from November 2018, when limits on OEM capacity resulted in carriers placing huge orders to lock in build slots throughout 2019. Trailer orders for the last twelve months total 215,000 units.
OEMs have plenty of capacity to handle a more stable freight and trailer demand environment in 2020, so fleets are placing smaller orders and only ordering a few months out. Production continues to fall moderately on a per-day level, as freight growth has stalled. There is still a decent demand for dry vans and reefers, but the vocational segments, especially flatbeds, continue to weaken.

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Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, commented, “Fleets are being more cautious with their truck orders, so it makes sense that trailer orders would follow suit. There is no reason to order in large quantities like last year. The supply of trailers has almost caught up with the demand for trailers, so ordering levels are flattening out and fleets are watching the market closely. There is still too much uncertainty regarding the economy, trade, tariffs and politics for companies to have a great deal of confidence right now for 2020.”
“It is expected that orders will track in this range for a while, as fleets continue to place modest-sized orders for short-term needs. OEM lead times are much shorter than a year ago, so ordering patterns will be much different, and more stable, than last year’s cycle.”

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The full trailer data is available as part of FTR's North American Truck & Trailer Outlook service.

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For more than 30 years, FTR has served as the industry leader in freight transportation forecasting for the shipping, trucking, rail, intermodal, equipment, and financial communities in North America. FTR’s experts, with over 250 years of combined experience in the transportation industry, provide quantitative analysis with historical and modal-specific insights. FTR’s reports, data, commentary, and insights help clients evaluate market risks, identify new opportunities, and make informed decisions.
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