ACT Research: Commercial Vehicle Story Unchanged; Challenges Are Supply, Not Demand, Driven

ACT Research: Commercial Vehicle Story Unchanged; Challenges Are Supply, Not Demand, DrivenAccording to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, with total Classes 5-8 build rates flat sequentially and essentially stuck at the year-to-date average, the supply-demand setup for the entire industry remains unchanged: Despite rock-solid demand metrics across the spectrum of medium and heavy-duty vehicle types, industry capacity remains range-bound across a broad front of supply-chain constraints.

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.

Speaking about the supply chain constraints and commercial vehicle build, Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst, said, “While shortages span multiple commodity types, semiconductors remain at the heart of supply challenges. And, those constraints are neither localized nor CV industry-specific challenges, but reflect a continuation of pandemic-driven failures in a globally reliant web of interrelated supply chains.” He added, “On the positive side of the ledger, in the recent round of Q3 earnings calls, major global automotive CEOs were uniform in their belief that the semiconductor shortage likely bottomed in the September-October period.”

About commercial vehicle demand, Vieth commented, “With long backlog lead-times, the focus deservedly remains on the industry’s ability to get vehicles delivered to customers. That said and with orders moderating in what would typically be the biggest months of the year, it is important to recognize that demand-side indicators remain at/near best-ever levels for commercial vehicle demand.” He continued, “While 2021-2022 expectations for GDP growth have moderated on rising inflation and supply-chain hiccups, economic strength is broad-based and concentrated in goods-related activity, with freight remaining backlogged at the nation’s ports and railroad intermodal capacity constrained. From that, freight rates continue to rise, and used truck prices and carrier profitability have risen to record levels.”

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 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 such as Bryan Bezold of Ford, Matt Hardin from Transplace, and Robert Brown of TuSimple. For information about OUTLOOK Seminar 66, as it becomes available, 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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