Utility, Cargo and Specialty Trailer Manufacturers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 660 utility, cargo and specialty trailer manufacturers in the US produce a wide variety of trailers that attach to automobiles and trucks for towing. Products include flat-bed vehicle transport trailers, boat trailers, utility trailers, cargo trailers, lift and dump trailers, horse and livestock trailers, log and pipe wagons, reel trailers, semi-trailers, and tank trailers.

Competition from Used Trailers

Trailer manufacturers compete with brands from other manufacturers, as well as used trailers sold by dealers.

Food Truck Growth

The explosion of the mobile food truck industry has significantly raised demand for modified cargo trailers.

Industry size & Structure

A typical utility, cargo and specialty trailer manufacturer operates out of a single location, employs 77 workers, and generates about $21 million annually.

    • The utility, cargo and specialty trailer manufacturing industry consists of about 670 companies that employ about 51,000 workers and generate about $14 billion annually.
    • Customers include construction and landscaping firms, horse and livestock owners, towing services, trucking companies, logging operations, water tour operators, trailer rental firms, food truck up-fitters, and those needing to transport vehicles, equipment or other cargo.
    • Large companies include Sundowner, Kaufman, RollingStar, and Wilson Trailer.
                                    Industry Forecast
                                    Utility, Cargo and Specialty Trailer Manufacturers Industry Growth
                                    Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                    Recent Developments

                                    Feb 24, 2023 - Decline in Truck Freight Volumes in Q4
                                    • Truck freight shipments in the fourth quarter of 2022 contracted 7.1% year over year and 4.6% compared to the previous quarter, according to the latest US Bank Freight Payment Index in DC Velocity. The change reflected the largest drop since the third quarter of 2020 and was driven by a significant reduction in the West region. Spending by shipping companies did not decline much overall, except in the West region, which fell 7.4% year over year in the fourth quarter and 7% compared to the previous quarter. According to Bob Costello, senior vice president and chief economist at the American Trucking Associations, “A pullback in consumer spending on goods is causing the truck freight market to soften. Higher prices for goods are leading to less consumption of items moved via truck. At the same time, monetary policy changes are reducing demand for large-ticket items in interest-rate sensitive areas like autos and homes.”
                                    • US manufacturing activity contracted in January 2023, falling below the baseline for growth for the third consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), per Modern Materials Handling. In January, the ISM’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to 47.4%, down from 48.4% in December. A reading above 50% indicates manufacturing expansion. January’s New Orders Index fell more than two percentage points to 42.5%. The January Production Index decreased slightly to 48%. Of the manufacturing industries tracked by the ISM, only two reported growth in January: Transportation Equipment and Miscellaneous Manufacturing. Thirteen sectors reported contraction, including Electrical Equipment, Fabricated Metal Products, Plastics & Rubber Products, Textile Mills, and Wood Products.
                                    • December 2022 trailer orders totaled 57,300 units, up 117% from 26,382 a year earlier, according to ACT Research data reported in Transport Tropics. The net orders reached the second-highest level since ACT Research began tracking in 1996. The record is 57,790 units, set in September 2018. According to ACT Research's Jennifer McNealy, "From this standpoint, 2022 went out like a lion." In 2022, 361,500 net orders were placed, compared to 249,400 in 2021. The number of trailers built in 2022 was 306,000, and ACT projects a continuation of that upward trend in 2023.
                                    • The slowdown in new single-family home construction that began in 2022 is a trend that’s likely to extend into 2023, according to forecasts. As mortgage rates rose, single-family housing starts declined from a seasonally adjusted annual pace of about 1.16 million properties in January 2022 to 855,000 in October. The slowdown has single-family housing starts set to fall for the first time in 11 years, with another pullback likely in 2023. A homebuilding industry forecast released in December by Fitch Ratings is calling for a 10% drop in single-family housing starts this year and declines of 13% and 5% in 2023 and 2024, respectively, Transport Topics reports. Homebuilding is a demand driver for utility and cargo trailers. After rising steadily since 2012, single-family home construction is headed for a correction, said chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders Robert Dietz.
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