According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, with the beginning of COVID vaccine distribution, the likelihood of Congressional assistance for those still suffering from COVID’s impact, and healthy freight rates, commercial vehicle demand remains strongly positioned heading into 2021.
ACT’s State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales, and general state of the on-road heavy and medium duty commercial vehicle markets in North America. It differentiates market indicators by Class 5, Classes 6-7 chassis and Class 8 trucks and tractors, detailing measures such as backlog, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and retail sales. Additionally, Class 5 and Classes 6-7 are segmented by trucks, buses, RVs, and step van configurations, while Class 8 is segmented by trucks and tractors with and without sleeper cabs. This report includes a six-month industry build plan, backlog timing analysis, historical data from 1996 to the present in spreadsheet format, and a ready-to-use graph package. A first-look at preliminary net orders is also published in conjunction with this report.
“With vaccine distribution starting this week and the likelihood that Congress will finally provide assistance to those left in COVID’s wake, we are more optimistic that we are nearing the end of the pandemic tunnel and are on the cusp of a better 2021,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst. He added, “Of course, with Americans now dying at a 100,000 per-month clip, these positive developments are tinged with the recognition that considerable misery remains.” Additionally, Vieth noted, “With freight rates in record territory since September boosting profits and a freight-heavy 2021 economic outlook, the rule of thumb oft-heard at ACT, ‘truckers buy trucks when they make money,’ again passes the test.”
By commercial vehicle segment, Vieth commented, “It seems that everyone is ordering in the Class 8 segment, but the tractor market is rising at a considerably more rapid clip, against easier year-ago comparisons, than the truck market. Despite the uptick in orders and build, we do caution that the growing steel shortage and potential for COVID to still wreak havoc on the supply chain could impact build rates into early 2021.” Regarding the medium-duty segment, he noted, “Order performance was mixed across the three market components that ACT tracks, with truck orders benefitting from e-commerce demand, RVs enjoying a pandemic-related boost, but social distancing continuing to weigh on school bus orders.”
ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.
SOURCE: ACT Research