ACT Research began its 64th Seminar on February 23 via a virtual platform, with a panel discussion about the current state and future of US economics. Panelists included Ryan Reed, Director of Investor Relations at Wabash National, as well as ACT’s Principal, Industry Analyst, Jim Meil, and Chief Economist, Sam Kahan.
Kahan noted, “Distribution of effective COVID vaccines and additional government stimulus are drivers of economic growth in 2021 and 2022.” He added, “Transportation and freight activity will shine as a result.”
Meil explained, “All our economic panelists agreed ‘the redirection of consumer spending from services like entertainment, restaurants, and travel to goods like automotive and home-oriented spending (DIY home improvement, appliances, and technology) has been a big contributor to the strength in transportation and trucking’.”
Regarding inflation, he noted, “We used to speak of rolling sectoral recessions: In a rising economy, some sectors would suffer. Now we have rolling sectoral inflation: Overall inflation is low, but transportation, seen everywhere from rising freight rates to escalating materials costs for truck OEMs, puts prices on a rapidly rising trend in our businesses.” Impact from the housing market was also discussed, and Meil commented, “Housing will transition from depression 10 years ago, to a long lasting recession, to a sector with out-of-proportion prospects in the decade ahead, important for a sector important to motor freight.”
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.
Tim Denoyer, ACT’s Vice President and Senior Analyst, walked viewers through ACT’s expectations for trucking trends and freight markets, saying, “The unprecedented backlog of freight waiting to come onshore provides unusually good visibility to strong freight demand, while supply side challenges are keeping the freight markets tight, so we expect the vigorous recovery in carrier earnings and commercial vehicle demand to persist.”
Frank Maly, ACT’s Director, CV Transportation Analysis & Research shared a review of the US trailer market. Highlights noted from his presentation include explanation of a backlog that has grown for seven consecutive months, with an average backlog-to-build ratio that extends into 2022 at current production rates. Maly also commented, “OEMs are struggling to increase production volumes, with staffing challenges generating the most significant headwinds.”
Regarding the North American medium-duty market, Steve Tam, ACT’s Vice President, noted, “North American medium duty commercial vehicle 2021 retail sales are currently expected to increase more than 8% compared to 2020. However, current supply chain concerns cast a pall on those expectations. In addition, if materials and components become tight, there is a growing possibility that medium-duty vehicles could take a back seat to their larger counterparts, which are typically more profitable.”
The three-day virtual seminar continues on February 24, when John Bennet, Meritor’s Vice President and Chief Technology Officer will discuss electric powertrain options for heavy-duty commercial vehicles, Dominik Beckman, Director of Marketing & Dealer Operations from Hino Motors, will give an OEM’s perspective on emerging technology, and Jeff Seger, Cummins’ Executive Director, Fuel Cell & Battery Powertrain Integration, will provide the audience with that organization’s perspective on hydrogen technology. Additionally, Mary Aufdemberg, President/General Manager of Daimler Truck Remarketing, will share her thoughts about how driver and equipment dynamics will fare in 2021, and Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst will give a review and forecast of the Class 8 market.
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