ACT Research: CV Industry Facing Omicron Variant, Starting 2022 with Unfinished 2021 Units

According to ACT’s latest release of the North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, in the short term, COVID risks have increased materially, as the highly contagious Omicron variant continues its global sweep, and reports indicate growing strains on staffing across the US and global economies, thereby threatening manufacturing activity in Q1, inclusive of NA commercial vehicles.

The N.A. CV OUTLOOK is a robust report that forecasts the future of the industry, looking at the next 1-5 years, with the objective of giving OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, and investment firms the information needed to plan accordingly for what is to come. The report provides a complete overview of the North American markets, as well as takes a deep dive into relevant, current market activity to highlight orders, production, and backlogs, shedding light on the forecast. Information included in this report covers forecasts and current market conditions for medium and heavy-duty trucks/tractors, and trailers, the macroeconomies of the US, Canada, and Mexico, publicly-traded carrier information, oil and fuel price impacts, freight and intermodal considerations, and regulatory environment impacts.

ACT_61__294According to Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst, “Minimally, the world should be planning for a January of meaningful labor disruption, and by extension, increased manufacturing challenges, locally and globally.” He continued, “Low-cost manufacturing countries with low vaccination rates have had trouble in previous COVID waves. The Delta variant knocked Indian steel production off-line and disrupted automotive sub-assemblers in Southeast Asia. To combat Omicron, the Chinese government has instigated shelter-in-place quarantines, continuing their strict lockdown policy. As China remains the world’s workshop, Chinese parts suppliers and ports going off-line is a real short-term risk.” Vieth added, “Beyond the bad news, there is the silver lining that Omicron’s rates of serious infection and mortality are materially lower, especially for the vaccinated. And the Omicron has almost taken the more serious Delta variant off the map: On December 10th, there were 43 Omicron cases in the US. On January 4th, 95% of new US COVID case were the new variant.”

iStock-906545530Regarding the impact to the North American commercial vehicle industry, Vieth said, “Despite broad-based demand strength, traction on commercial vehicle build has been elusive. The exception at year-end was better Classes 5-7 build rates related to the ability of the large pickup truck-based OEMs to move chips from smaller to larger GVW vehicles. That allowed some additional incomplete units to be finished into year-end. With fewer components requiring semiconductors, trailer production also showed some modest traction into year-end, suggesting some easing in commodities capacity.” He concluded, “It appears that the industry will begin 2022 with still unfinished 2021 units. At the levels we suspect, this is an unprecedented situation. If your company has parts on all those ‘built, but not built’ units, some adjustment will be required to align your 2021-2022 output with reported and forecast data.”

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 66th Seminar is scheduled for February 22-24, 2022. Focused on the continuous evolution and advancement of autonomous and powertrain technologies in the transportation and commercial vehicle markets, OUTLOOK Seminar 66 will feature key industry leaders from Ford, Transplace, TuSimple, and the EPA, with more being added to the agenda. February’s event features three panels (US Economics, Trucker & Transportation, and Autonomous Ecosystem), as well as a fireside chat with the EPA, discussions about fleet decarbonization, electric vehicle forecasts, and reviews of freight/transportation, Class 8, Classes 5-7, the US used truck and new US trailer markets. For information about OUTLOOK Seminar 66, click here

ACT’s commercial electric vehicle study, Charging Forward: 2020-2024 BEV & FCEV Forecast & Analysis, was published on 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, click here. 

For more information about ACT’s NA Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, click here.

Details about other ACT Research products and services can be found by clicking here.

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