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The Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ) quotes Don Ake, Vice President of Commercial Vehicles at Freight Transportation Research (FTR), who suggests reasons for the strong showing in the first quarter for 2017, “Fleets are growing much more optimistic about the business environment and they are buying more trailers again after a slump the second half of last year.”
Build rates reflected the strong pace of orders in recent months. In March, build rates jumped nine percent over February. Overall production in March 2017 was comparable to that in the previous March.
Normal seasonal variations were still evident, as the 20,500 units ordered in March represented a 20-percent decline compared to February. This seasonal dip occurs in part because of reduced demand for refrigerated and dry vans at this time of year. Still, total trailer order over the past 12 months total almost a quarter-million units (246,000).
Frank Maly, Director of Commercial Vehicle Transportation and Analysis at ACT Research, says fleets were cautious about ordering early on as they monitored emerging changes in economic and political conditions. Now, increased optimism is reflected in net order rates over the past four months that exceed those of one year ago.
Optimism runs high as trailer sales continue into the second quarter, a period of traditionally strong figures.
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