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US M/HCV sector in line for improved orders, production and sales in 2014 – ACT Research

Automotive World talks to Steve Tam, Vice President - Commercial Vehicle Sector at ACT Research

Guide to the automotive world in 2014A fleet coming off record age combined with modest economic/freight growth assumptions sets the stage in 2014 for improved demand, says Steve Tam, Vice President – Commercial Vehicle Sector at ACT Research

What do you expect to be the key events that will shape the performance of the M/HCV sector in the US in 2014?

The US medium and heavy commercial vehicle industry was remarkably resilient in the face of the government shutdown and the associated budget battle. The two events were somewhat unnerving, as truckers were uncertain what the ultimate outcome would be. Unfortunately, they will now have to wait until early 2014 to know the final answer. That may cause some truck buyers to take a “wait and see” attitude, delaying production and sales.

Do you anticipate any legislative or regulatory changes that will impact the industry? And will this impact be positive or negative?

The biggest regulatory change the industry faces in 2014 is the continued implementation of stricter greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions requirements, which accompanies the first-ever fuel economy standards for commercial vehicles. Unlike emissions mandates in 2002/2004, 2007 and 2010, truckers will see improved performance in exchange for higher truck prices. The prospect has yet to result in increased demand, but it appears to be tempering previous cyclical highs and lows. Of the other legislative and regulatory changes the industry will be dealing with in 2014, the most notable include hours of service and electronic logging devices. The end result of these two initiatives will be a modest reduction in productivity.

What key industry-specific events do you expect to take place in 2014?

Based on what we have seen in 2013, it is likely there will be continued merger and acquisition activity among carriers in the space in 2014.

Who or what are the ‘ones to watch’ in 2014 and why?

Natural gas will be one of the main watchwords in 2014. As the product offerings and refuelling infrastructure expand, adoption rates are expected to increase. All fleets owe it to themselves to learn about this potentially game-changing development and determine whether it has applicability to their operations.

In addition, the move to automatic and automated manual transmissions is expected to…

Martin Kahl

To read the full interview, follow this link to download Guide to the automotive world in 2014

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