ACT Research: August Order Rebound Indicates July Weakness an Outlier, not a Canary

Preliminary NA Class 8 net orders in August were 21,600 units, while NA Classes 5-7 net orders were 18,400 units. Complete industry data for August, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-September.

ACT’s State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles 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 activity-related 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. The Class 8 market is segmented into trucks and tractors, with and without sleeper cabs. The report includes a six-month industry build plan, a 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.

Eric Crawford Headshot“Last month, we sounded a note of caution, with the caveat that there were a number of mitigating factors (extended backlogs, order seasonality, and still-closed 2023 order boards) that prevented us from extrapolating too much from July’s weak orders,” said Eric Crawford, ACT’s Vice President and Senior Analyst. He added, “In spite of increased economic uncertainty, carrier profitability and unmet demand continue to support activity.”

Crawford noted, “Using preliminary August orders and the corresponding OEM build plans from the August State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Vehicles report (July data) for guidance, the Class 8 backlog should fall by around 8,900 units when complete August data are released (less than the 12.4k average decline the prior 3 months).” About medium-duty, he said, “the Classes 5-7 backlog should decline by around 3,400 units to 132,200 units, representing ~6.1 months of production. Note that the data never quite align month to month: the orders are preliminary and the build numbers are projections, so there will be some variability in reported backlogs when final data is collected.”

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.

ACT’s 68th Seminar is scheduled for February 21-23, 2022. Look for more details on this event over the coming months and save the date for February’s event. When details are available, they may be found at www.actresearch.net.

ACT Research recently completed POWER UP, a look at 7 global regions and more than 20 countries in a review of local regulations, infrastructure, and the impact on the adoption of battery and fuel cell electric commercial vehicles through 2040. This forecast is the first of its kind, a review of the decarbonization of commercial vehicles around the world. POWER UP is available now at https://www.actresearch.net/power-up/.

Additionally, ACT Research published an update to CHARGING FORWARD, a North American-centric battery and fuel cell electric vehicle adoption rate forecast, covering 23 vehicle applications, in Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, through 2040. CHARGING FORWARD is considered by many industry leaders to be the apex of analysis and economic-based total cost of ownership modeling in the industry. And, it is now available for purchase at https://www.actresearch.net/electric-vehicles-charge/.

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Access August's State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles Press Release.

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