ACT Research: Robust CV Market Activity Rolls on Despite Higher Interest Rates (For Now)

According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 report, current commercial vehicle (CV) market conditions continue to prove resilient in the face of aggressive interest rate hikes. October Class 8 net orders were robust, all the more so when considering September orders set an all-time record.

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.

“Cracks in the economy are becoming more evident: The impact of higher rates has begun to slow activity in the housing sector, and large layoffs have started in the tech sector.” -Eric Crawford, Vice President, Senior AnalystAccording to Eric Crawford, ACT Research’s Vice President, Senior Analyst, “For now, business activity in the truck industry rolls on, seemingly unphased by higher interest rates. That said, we expect this dynamic to shift in 1H’23, as the Fed continues its aggressive push to subdue inflation.” He continued, “Cracks in the economy are becoming more evident: The impact of higher rates has begun to slow activity in the housing sector, and large layoffs have started in the tech sector.”

Crawford highlighted the notable continued strength in Class 8 order activity. On medium duty (MD) and heavy duty (HD) more broadly, he shared, “MD and HD net orders were both robust, each notching their second strongest month of the year, both on a nominal as well as seasonally adjusted (SA) basis. That said, September was the strongest month of the year, so both took a step down sequentially in October.”

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, 2023. 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.

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