ACT Research: Net Class 8 Orders Nearing ‘Best Ever’ Status

According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, net Class 8 orders booked during the past six months were surpassed only by the six-month period ending October 2018, so not quite as good as it gets yet, but awfully close.

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.

Used 4.22.21“Unlike that October 2018 period, where the seeds of the cycle’s fall had already been planted with tariffs and trade wars, the economy is carrying considerable pent-up industrial and consumer demand with stimulus program(s) adding fuel to the fire,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst. He added, “ACT’s current expectation for GDP growth in 2021 is 6.4%. Owing to the composition of economic activity, ACT’s GDP-based freight proxy anticipates freight volumes jumping by 12.6%.” Vieth noted, “That supplants 1984 as the best year on record, based on ACT’s freight composite methodology. While freight growth is expected to moderate, as consumer spending patterns begin to revert to more traditional levels of goods spending relative to services, both GDP and freight activity are expected to remain elevated.”

By commercial vehicle segment, Vieth commented, “With the economy growing in all the right places, freight rates and carrier profits are pushing into record territory. In response, Class 8 orders the past two quarters have driven rapid backlog growth. Stating the obvious, perhaps, the supply chain’s ability to respond will be the key determinant of commercial vehicle production in 2021.” Regarding the medium-duty segment, he noted, “While our Class 8 ‘best since’ comparisons go back to 2018, we have to go back to 2006 to find a comparable period for medium-duty demand.”

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 commercial electric vehicle study, Charging Forward: 2020-2024 BEV & FCEV Forecast & Analysis, was published in late March, 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, go to https://www.actresearch.net/electric-vehicles-charge/.

What’s coming next in 2021 and 2022? ACT’s 65th OUTLOOK Seminar is the planning event for your business needs. Mark your calendar for August 24-26, 2021 to gain market updates and forecasts from ACT’s award-winning, veteran team with more than 200 years of combined industry experience. Stay tuned for more information or go to https://www.actresearch.net/seminar65/ for more details.

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