ACT Research: Life in the Commercial Vehicle Trenches Is a Jungle Right Now

According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, the aggregate prosperity seen currently in the commercial vehicle industry, and in the US economy as a whole, is a welcome contrast to the situation that existed a year ago. However, the report explains, there is a downside.

The report, which combines proprietary ACT data and analysis from a wide variety of sources, paints a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. This monthly report is designed as a quick look at transportation insights for use by fleet and trucking executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy and medium duty segments, the US trailer market, used truck sales information, and an overview of the US macro economy.

Used 6.2.2021Our heavy-duty forecast continues to reflect the current ‘perfect storm’ of upbeat economic, freight and trucking indicators, with most at, or on the verge of reaching, all-time record levels,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He continued, “And, it’s easy, if not particularly pleasant, to remember the business environment of 2020’s second quarter, with significant uncertainties in not knowing the extent of the virus and how deep the downside could be.”

Vieth added, “All that said, good times and good numbers at a macro level obscure an uncomfortable truth – life in the trenches is a jungle right now.” He elaborated, “For purchasing managers in the equipment manufacturing chain, the struggle is obtaining supplies in a capacity-strained world, while for financial managers, it’s a battle to protect margins against rapidly rising costs. Fleet managers always have the driver shortage headache, but are now stressed because the queue for heavy-duty vehicles stretches past year-end, even as many operators need new trucks today.” Vieth concluded, “The management skillset is really being tested to make the best of current good times, if this is really ‘as good as it gets’.”

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 in early April, 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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