ACT Research: Commercial Vehicle Markets Starting 2022 With Good Outlook

According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, commercial vehicle demand started 2021 like a lion, spent most of the year in a cage, and headed into 2022 like a lion, as both medium and heavy-duty production were materially above expectations.

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.

According to Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst, “We start 2022 as 2021 ended, with a very good outlook for economic activity and by extension, freight.” According to Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst, “We start 2022 as 2021 ended, with a very good outlook for economic activity and by extension, freight.” He added, “The challenges for the industry at the start of 2022 are not dissimilar from those of a year-ago: supply-chain and labor constraints. We began talking about ‘chips’ at the start of 2021 and are still talking about them today. If there is a silver lining, the world is a year closer to the capacity additions that record levels of investment in those industries promise; there was a lot of capacity in the pipeline prior to the globe’s demand for goods outstripping silicon capacity into late 2020.”

Vieth continued, “Some moderation is expected in the rate of consumption of goods, after the pandemic surge, but key medium and heavy-duty indicators remain intact.” He explained, “Freight rates ended 2021 at record levels. Carrier profitability has been rising with rates, so truckers are expected to have considerable free cash to spend on equipment in 2022. Additionally, chip shortages are creating pent-up demand across manufacturing segments, and consumer balance sheets are well positioned. Moreover, container ship backlogs remain long, business inventories relative to sales continue at decade lows, and surging used CV equipment valuations underscore how badly carriers are looking to lock-in capacity.”

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

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