ACT Research: Inflation, Interest Rates, Recession and Supply Chains Still Overarching Themes

According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, surging inflation, the Fed hiking interest rates into a potential recession, and supply-chain disruptions remain overarching themes.

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.

The prospect of a US recession has grown materially since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and as of the July issue of ACT’s NA OUTLOOK report, a 2023 recession is now the base-case expectation, with freight volumes beginning to contract in Q3’22.” -Kenny ViethAccording to Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst, “The prospect of a US recession has grown materially since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and as of the July issue of ACT’s NA OUTLOOK report, a 2023 recession is now the base-case expectation, with freight volumes beginning to contract in Q3’22.” He added, “Meanwhile, supply-chain disruptions remain a wild card, as the war in Ukraine continues and China announced fresh lockdowns following another surge in COVID infections.”

When asked about inflation, Vieth explained, “The takeaway for us is that interest rate hikes to date have not yet slowed inflation sufficiently, meaning the Fed is likely to remain aggressive, risking a deeper recession in 2023 as they work to rein in inflation.” Regarding supply-chain concerns and impacts to commercial vehicle markets, he commented, “The prevailing theme cycle-to-date has been one of whack-a-mole, i.e. as shortages of one component are alleviated, another issue arises. Russia and China issues aside, the past two months have seen modest OEM beats of their medium-duty and heavy-duty build plans, suggesting that availability, and possibly visibility, is improving.”

In summation, Vieth concluded, “Forward-looking data were largely aligned with expectations in June, while concurrent and trailing indicators were modestly above expectations, as North America’s commercial vehicle markets continue to embody a balancing act between demand-driven potential and supply-side realism. For context, we saw Class 8 orders rise 16% sequentially in June, cancellations fall to a 12-year low, build rise to its highest level this cycle, and heavy-duty retail sales jump to their best result of the year.”

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 67th Seminar is scheduled for August 23-25, 2022. The focus will be the potential impact of decarbonization and autonomous technology on commercial vehicles and on-highway transportation. Each event ACT shares its best-in-class data and forecast in presentations, as well as featuring guest speakers to dive into topics of interest for the benefit of attendees. The agenda includes key industry leaders, who will be announced at a later date. For more information about Seminar 67 Watts Under The Hood: Transportation Transformation, click here: https://www.actresearch.net/seminar-67/.

ACT Research recently completed POWER UP, a look at 7 global regions and more than 20 countries in a review of local regulations, infrastructure, and the impact on the adoption of battery and fuel cell electric commercial vehicles through 2040. This forecast is the first of its kind, a review of the decarbonization of commercial vehicles around the world. POWER UP is available now at https://www.actresearch.net/power-up/.

Additionally, ACT Research published an update to CHARGING FORWARD, a North American-centric battery and fuel cell electric vehicle adoption rate forecast, covering 23 vehicle applications, in Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, through 2040. CHARGING FORWARD is considered by many industry leaders to be the apex of analysis and economic-based total cost of ownership modeling in the industry. And, it is now available for purchase at https://www.actresearch.net/electric-vehicles-charge/.

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