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

                                    Nov 25, 2022 - Seasonal Jump in Trailer Orders
                                    • Preliminary trailer orders rose in September versus the previous month, but were down 10% compared to September 2021, according to ACT Research. Net trailer orders in September numbered 25,700 units, up about 45% from August, a seasonal rise as manufacturers began taking orders for 2023. “As the OEMs open next year’s build schedules more fully, they are reporting that most of the build slots made available have been filled,” said ACT’s director of commercial vehicle market research and publications Jennifer McNealy, who noted that while noted that while ACT’s data shows a 45% jump in month-over-month orders when seasonally adjusted, the sequential gap is closer to 5% growth. With component shortages continuing to constrain supply, trailer manufacturers aren’t keeping up with retail demand, Trailer Body Builders reported in October. Overall, OEMs are preparing for a busy 2023 even amid uncertainty about pricing.
                                    • US manufacturing is making a strong comeback with employment in the sector currently at 12,922,000 employees – the most since November 2008 – according to the latest jobs report from the Labor Department. Through October 2022, the manufacturing sector added 367,000 new jobs. Manufacturing grew by 32,000 jobs in October, continuing the resurgence of this blue-collar sector, which now provides 137,000 more jobs than it did before the pandemic. In October, much of the monthly job gains in manufacturing were driven by durable goods manufacturing (+23,000 jobs or 71% of manufacturing jobs added). Some of the largest monthly changes in durable goods manufacturing were in transportation equipment, computer and electronic products, and fabricated metal products, with each of those industries adding 5,000 jobs in October.
                                    • The construction industry – a customer for utility and cargo trailers – saw builder confidence slip in September 2022 for the ninth consecutive month as the US housing slowdown continued, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports. Rising interest rates, persistent building material supply chain disruptions, and high home prices all took a toll on affordability. Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes fell three points in September to 46, the lowest level since May 2014 with the exception of the spring of 2020, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). All three HMI components declined in September, with current sales conditions down three points to 54, sales expectations in the next six months falling one point to 46, and traffic of prospective buyers down one point to 31. (Any number below 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as poor than good.)
                                    • Freight shipping, an indicator of demand for tractor trailers, is relatively healthy, according to FTR Transportation Intelligence. The transportation intelligence firm forecasts a 3-3.5% gain in freight volume in 2022, compared to a year ago. Growth is expected to ease to 2% in 2023 and 1.8% in 2024, but could flatten in 2023 if the economy declines farther than expected. As of mid-September, truck utilization rates were above the 10-year average, but were showing signs of softening.
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