ACT Research: Opening of Order Books Currently Driving CV Market Conversations

According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, with demand for commercial vehicles surging, any number of conversations the past few months have been around the opening of the OEMs’ 2022 order books.

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.

“There are times in the cycle where other variables supplant orders as the most critical in terms of industry understanding,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst. He added, “With backlogs stretching to double-digit ratio levels, it is no longer orders that are top of mind, but the industry’s ability to convert those orders into product. Like every other upcycle, this one has been beset with traditional production constraints: foundries, tires, wiring harnesses, labor, etc. Unlike every other upcycle, the ‘it’s-different-this-time’ factors have been particularly egregious: COVID, steel, resin, foam, and semiconductors have been nearly continuous supply-chain hurdles. Where upcycle constraints typically last deep into Q2, these appear sticky into the second half of 2021.”

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By commercial vehicle segment, Vieth commented, “With Class 8 build missing to the downside, backlog came in above preliminary expectations. After being oversubscribed since the end of last year, our backlog analysis shows that much of the order overhang that marked the six-month build outlook has migrated into future quarters. That said and despite supply-chain challenges, truckers still want trucks. For the medium-duty segment, a big change in the underlying market has been the resumption of school bus demand and waning RV demand, as vaccinations continue to allow economic reopening. Orders above build here are also adding to industry backlogs.”

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

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. Click here for more details. 

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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