ACT Research: Preliminary NA Classes 5-8 Vehicle Orders Close 2020 in Near-Record Territory

Preliminary NA Class 8 net orders in December were 50,900 units, down 2% from November, but a 153% improvement from year-ago December. NA Classes 5-7 demand, with orders at 35,100 units, rose 28% sequentially and 73% compared to last December. That order volume represents a second-best-ever volume, while the Class 8 net order intake marks the fourth highest level in history. Complete industry data for December, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-January.

ACT’s State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles 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 activity-related 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. The Class 8 market is segmented into trucks and tractors, with and without sleeper cabs. The report includes a six-month industry build plan, a 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 pandemic-impacted economy continues to play into the hands of trucking, as consumers continue to substitute spending on services with spending on goods, even as the manufacturing sector begins to ramp,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He continued, “Simultaneously, the driver supply remains constrained and that supply-demand imbalance is reflected in rate data. With strong freight volumes, drivers in short supply, rates surging and carrier profits certain to follow, the precise recipe for surging new vehicle demand, which continued in December, is created.”

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Regarding the medium-duty market, Vieth commented, “There is a symbiotic relationship between heavy-duty freight rates and medium-duty demand. Clearly, the shift in consumer spending from experiences to goods has been good for the providers of local trucking services as e-commerce has grown by leaps and bounds during the pandemic.”

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 64th Seminar is scheduled for February 23-25, 2021. Focused on the continuous evolution and advancement of power and energy changes in the transportation and commercial vehicle markets, OUTLOOK Seminar 64 will feature key industry leaders such as Ryan Reed of Wabash National, John Bennett from Meritor, Lance Riegel of Marvin Johnson, and Dominick Beckman from Hino Motors. Look for more details on this event over the coming months and save the date for February’s event. Click here for seminar information. 

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Access more information about ACT’s State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Report.

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Access December's State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles Press Release.

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