According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, truck transportation showed relatively strong performance on restocking activity into the end of March, making the month’s data largely transitional, rather than representative of activity expected in coming months. Additionally, the report noted that ACT Research has created an easily accessible webpage to track noteworthy high frequency macroeconomic and transportation-specific market indicators, which can be found at https://pages.actresearch.net/covid-19.
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 most obvious signs that the pandemic is starting to impact data can be found in March’s Class 8 orders and cancellations,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst. He added, “Deteriorating new order activity and meaningfully higher cancellations dropped Class 8 net orders to their lowest level in over ten years.”
Speaking about the heavy-duty market, Vieth said, “In addition to the fall of Class 8 net orders, cancellations rose to an 18-month high and with the freight surge subsiding, freight rates fell sharply into early April.” He continued, “Added to the cliff-like decline in economic activity over the past six weeks, there is nothing to suggest any near-term improvement in order conditions.”
Regarding the medium-duty markets, he commented, “Similar to Class 8, medium duty orders and somewhat elevated cancellations are the only places to find clues in March of the COVID-19 impact. Net orders were down at about half the Class 8 rate, and like Class 8, the pandemic hits a medium duty market sporting very large new vehicle inventories.”
ACT’s 63rd seminar is scheduled for August 11-13, 2020, and will feature dealer, alternative power, and economic panels, as well as discussions on near-term demand of North American commercial vehicle markets and the pending impact of alternative power on the market in the near future.