Day two of ACT Research’s semi-annual Outlook Seminar began with a concentration of industry speakers talking about emerging technology, particularly electric powertrains and the use of hydrogen fuel. John Bennett, Meritor’s Vice President and Chief Technology Officer discussed electric powertrain options for heavy-duty commercial vehicles, while Dominik Beckman, Director of Marketing & Dealer Operations from Hino Motors, gave an OEM’s perspective on emerging technology, and Jeff Seger, Cummins’ Executive Director, Fuel Cell & Battery Powertrain Integration, provided the audience with that organization’s perspective on hydrogen technology.
Regarding commercial electric vehicles (CEVs), ACT’s President and Senior Analyst, Kenny Vieth, commented, “CARB and proposed EPA regulations targeting low NOx and extended emissions systems warranties are expected to materially increase the cost of internal combustion engines beginning with CARB in 2024, and followed by the EPA in 2027. Regulations pushing diesel engine prices higher mean that battery-electric vehicle costs don’t have to fall as fast for CEVs to gain market share. Not surprisingly, the needle on CEV market share is expected to jump in 2027.”
Later in the program, Vieth shared his thoughts about the perfect storm of increasing equipment demand and supply-chain constraints in the Class 8 market. He noted, “At the start of 2021, demand is outstripping the industry’s ability to produce equipment. In addition to traditional early-cycle capacity constraints, two nontraditional constraints stand out: COVID staffing challenges and the global silicon chip shortage. Given their ubiquity across components, the chip situation seems especially sticky, denying the industry the ability to build-around a specific component problem.” Vieth concluded, “Where the data would argue for Class 8 production approaching 330,000 units in 2021, lingering capacity constraints have our forecast on hold at just over 300,000 units.”
Before day two closed, Mary Aufdemberg, President/General Manager of Daimler Truck Remarketing, shared her thoughts about how driver and equipment dynamics will fare in 2021, and ACT’s Vice President, Steve Tam, talked about how the used truck market benefitted from better-than-expected performance last year, as well as his thoughts for that segment going forward. Tam drew from ACT’s study of the used truck market that began last century asserting, “Harkening back to one of the key questions we asked as ACT began to study this market segment: The question of whether new truck buyers may turn to the secondary market, if new truck production and availability is unfavorably impacted by mounting supply chain concerns, appears to be back on the table again.”
ACT Research holds two seminars per year for the benefit of its N.A. CV OUTLOOK subscribers. The N.A. CV OUTLOOK is a robust report that forecasts the future of the industry, looking at the next 1-5 years, with the objective of giving OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, and investment firms the information needed to plan accordingly for what is to come. The report provides a complete overview of the North American markets, as well as takes a deep dive into relevant, current market activity to highlight orders, production, and backlogs, shedding light on the forecast. Information included in this report covers forecasts and current market conditions for medium and heavy-duty trucks/tractors, and trailers, the macroeconomies of the US, Canada, and Mexico, publicly-traded carrier information, oil and fuel price impacts, freight and intermodal considerations, and regulatory environment impacts.
The three-day virtual seminar continues on February 25, with two panel discussions planned. Darrel Harris, EVP of Strategic Initiatives for Yellow, Stephen Voorhees, VP of Finance and Accounting for Big G Express, and Jim Franck, President of National Carriers, will be on hand for the trucker panel, where they will expound on the dynamics that led to such positive results in 2020 and share lessons learned during the pandemic, as well as give glimpses into their 2021 expectations. The day’s second group discussion will feature Eric Fuller, President and CEO of U.S. Xpress, Jason Miller, Associate Professor at Michigan State University, and Lance Riegle, VP of Indiana Sales/Partner for Marvin Johnson & Associates, who will serve as Freight & Logistic panelists. This group will touch on cyclical freight market topics, mainly focusing on secular forces and how they will transform the freight and logistics business over the long term, including the potential of new technologies.
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 65th Seminar is scheduled for August 24-26, 2021. Look for more details on this event over the coming months and save the date for August’s event. When details are available, they may be found at www.actresearch.net/seminar65