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New trailer orders plunge 72% from a year ago

September 26, 2019 by Truck News

COLUMBUS, Ind. – U.S. orders for new trailers rose slightly in August, but were down by 72% from a year ago amid economic uncertainty, according to ACT Research.

It said original orders stood at 14,800 in August, up 7% month-over-month.

“After accounting for cancellations, net orders of 10,600 hit their second sequential increase in nine months, rising 2% from July, but down 72% compared to August of 2018.”

Year-to-date, however, net trailer orders were 51% below last year.

“With 2020 order boards fully open, the dramatic lack of fleet interest continues to astound,” said Frank Maly, director, commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT Research.

“Uncertainty breeds inaction, and many factors are pushing fleets to observe the market from the sidelines. Poor financials, the result of lower freight demand and weak rates, portend a challenging financial road ahead, while more general economic uncertainties generate additional headwinds.”

He said fleets were unwilling to commit investment for next year, while still adjusting this year’s spending.

“Reports indicate that some orders were actually cancel/reorders, effectively pushing late ‘19 volume into next year, sometimes at OEM request.”