ACT Upgrades Commercial Vehicle Market Forecast

By Mike Brezonick09 October 2020

The latest release of the North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook by ACT Research shows that after pulling the cycle forward last month, ACT’s front-of-the-cycle forecasts were marked up across-the-board again in October.

“Central to our growing bullishness on current activity translating into the next up-cycle are the non-traditional drivers of current freight market strength, even as more traditional drivers remain in the wings,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “We’re seeing a COVID-driven consumer and business substitution of spending from services to goods, and while a vacation or business trip doesn’t fit into a truck, lumber and technology do.”

Vieth added that “low interest rates, millennial demographics, and urban escapes have supercharged residential investment, and we’re also seeing the need for a period of business inventory restocking that should benefit truck freight into mid-2021. By Q1’21, the current manufacturing cycle will hit a nine-quarter downturn, suggesting a tightly coiled spring of pent-up demand, also good for freight and ultimately commercial vehicle demand.

“That said, our thesis does rest on three impactful caveats: a successful COVID vaccination program in place by around the second quarter of next year, Congress passing significant legislation to support left-behind economic sectors, and the potential for a flood of drivers into a market that still has considerable parked equipment, thereby blowing-up the favorable rate environment that fleets are enjoying currently.”

ACT Research also recently announced plans for a new multi-client study focusing on electrification of the commercial vehicle industry to be released in 2021. The scope of the study will include unit sales for the US and Canada, annually from 2020 to 2030, with single-year outlooks for 2035 and 2040. Class 8 truck and Classes 4-7 truck and bus segments will be considered, with additional segmentation encompassing step vans, conventional and low cab forward trucks, RV, school bus, yard spotter, transit bus categories, as well as the Class 8 straight, day cab, and sleeper subcategories.

The report will compare purchase and operational costs for diesel, battery, fuel cell and hybrid powertrains in a rigorous comparative total cost of ownership (TCO) framework. It will also take into account concerns, such as infrastructure requirements and costs, regulation, and issues including maintenance, range, durability and vehicle and component replacement.

For more details about the study, including a full prospectus, click here.

ACT Research is a Columbus, Ind.-based publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. For more information about ACT’s North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook, click here.

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