According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, the prosperity of the year we are leaving will transition to tougher medium and heavy-duty market conditions in 2020.
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.
“After peak build and sales in 2019, significant declines are ahead in 2020, as sales and build will follow trends in net orders and backlog volumes lower in their respective markets,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst. He explained, “Recent articles point to a growing belief that a recession is likely to be averted in 2020, so the economic ‘days’ are likely to become brighter as we move through 2020. Unfortunately for the industry, the expected rebound will not come soon enough, or be robust enough, to take a sharp equipment downturn off the table.”
Speaking about the Class 8 market, Vieth said, “After October’s modest order strength, November data quelled thoughts of a better-than-expected order season, with the November’s booking down about 4,400 units from the previous month.”
Regarding the medium duty markets, he commented, “Weakness has spread in medium duty demand. The drivers of lower build rates are weak orders, falling backlogs, and elevated inventories. That weakness in turn is driven by the above-trend buying of the past 18 months, leading to slowing demand for trucks and RVs.”
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 62nd seminar is scheduled for February 11-13, 2020, and will feature trucker, electrification, and economic panels, as well as discussions on near-term demand of North American commercial vehicle markets and the pending impact of electrification on the market in the near future. A commercial vehicle database workshop is also being planned in conjunction with this semi-annual event.