ACT Research: Supply-Chain Constraints Restraining 2021 CV Market Expectations

In the release of its Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest, ACT Research reported that the freight-generating sectors of the economy are strong, freight rates are at record levels, and commercial vehicle demand is hot, but supply-chain constraints are restraining 2021 expectations.

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.

Used 3.24.21 (1)“With orders remaining hot through February reporting from ACT, backlogs and backlog-to-build ratios continuing to rise, and new vehicle inventories tight, the problem isn’t demand, but supply, as the new vehicle demand story remains unchanged,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He continued, “The supply chain’s ability to respond to demand will be the critical determinant of commercial vehicle production in 2021. To no small extent, it appears that the more traditional early-cycle ramping pains (tires, assorted cast parts, wiring harnesses) are taking a backseat to more cycle-specific constraints, which begin with the simultaneous global ramp in economic activity overlaid with pandemic-specific challenges.”

Vieth elaborated, “Pushing commercial vehicle demand forward, freight rates ended February at record levels (seasonally adjusted) and started March on an upswing. With the nation’s ports backed up for months, commodity prices soaring, the manufacturing sector heating, and the housing market already in full swing, there is unparalleled visibility to strong freight flows. Freight is not typically a backlog business, but that is clearly not the case today.”

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 commercial electric vehicle study, Charging Forward: 2020-2024 BEV & FCEV Forecast & Analysis, is due to publish March 31, 2021, after months of extensive research. Utilizing industry expertise and analysis, as well as the input from a comprehensive list of key industry study participants, ACT Research has developed a critical guide for battery electric and fuel cell electric unit build and sales forecasts over the next two decades. With coverage of Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, ACT has identified 14 market subsegments and more than 20 application types; this one-of-a-kind report is a must-have for those investing or investigating electric power opportunities. To learn more or to purchase this report, go to

What’s coming next in 2021 and 2022? ACT’s 65th OUTLOOK Seminar is the planning event for your business needs. Mark your calendar for August 24-26, 2021 to gain market updates and forecasts from ACT’s award-winning, veteran team with more than 200 years of combined industry experience. Click here for more details

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