ACT Research: Commercial Vehicle Markets Continue to Deteriorate

In the release of its Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest, ACT Research noted that expectations for the Class 8 and trailer markets anticipate an accelerating pullback in build rates, as freight market conditions remain at a low ebb. While less cliff-like, MD market indicators continue to support a modest correction into 2020.

The report, which combines ACT’s proprietary data analysis from a wide variety of industry sources, paints a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. This monthly report includes a relevant but high-level forecast summary, complete with transportation insights for use by commercial vehicle dealer executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy and medium duty segments, the total US trailer market, used truck sales information, and a review of the US macro economy.

animation - 2019-11-27T150803.446“With about 80% of the North American Class 8 market and 90% of the North American Classes 5-7 and trailer markets beholden to the US economy, it is little wonder that we expend great energy to continually assess the economy,” said Steve Tam, ACT’s Vice President. He continued, “This month, it is worth touching on the weaker-than-anticipated activity in the economies of Canada and Mexico, with GDP expectations for the former pared back to 1.5% in April, and the latter falling to 0.6% this year.”

Tam added, “Not surprisingly, the primary drivers of devolution in North American economic activity and expectations are broadly the same in all three cases and can be succinctly summed up in just a few words: Trade war, threats, and tariffs. More broadly, the slowdown in global economic activity in large part represents the fallout from the clash of economic titans that began in early 2018.” He concluded, “The key risk to all vehicle market forecasts, and the US economy broadly, in either direction, remains the trade war with China. With US manufacturers and farmers struggling to compete on the tilted global playing field, the key driver of growth in the mid-term outlook is the US consumer, with job and wage growth, as well as savings rates, all at healthy levels and supported by consumer confidence and spending.”

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

ACT’s 62nd seminar is scheduled for February 11-13, 2020, and will feature trucker, electrification, and economic panels, as well as discussions on near-term demand of North American commercial vehicle markets and the pending impact of electrification on the market in the near future. A commercial vehicle database workshop is also being planned in conjunction with this semi-annual event.

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