ACT Research: Will supply, demand side-triggers impact CV markets?; trade, tariffs still an economic concern

ACT Research suggests that U.S. economic growth in 2019 remains in a positive, if less certain, environment. (The Trucker file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — In release of information it its Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest and its Transportation Digest, ACT Research queries whether the current record-setting Class 8 cycle will close differently than previous peak periods, and in its Transportation Digest reported that the Class 8 truck market started 2019 with powerful positive momentum, although uncertainty surrounding trade and tariffs and a slowing global economy are still causes for caution.

The Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest provides monthly analysis on transportation trends, equipment markets, and the economy.

“ACT’s analysis of Class 8 cycles shows that peak build typically lasts between 13 and 15 months. The lone exception being the EPA’07-prebuy driven 2005-2006 cycle, which ran a remarkable 27 months at peak build rates,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Given the exogenous benefits accrued from miles-per-gallon and safety technologies, we have to consider if the conditions are in place for this cycle to run farther than history would suggest.”

Vieth said given slower freight growth, an easing of driver supply constraints, the resumption of the long-run freight productivity trend, and strong Class 8 tractor fleet growth, which are increasingly pressuring rates and by extension trucker profits, ACT’s forecast assumes a moderating of the Class 8 cycle into the end of 2019.

Transportation Digest, which combines ACT’s proprietary data analysis across a wide variety of industry sources to paint a comprehensive picture of trends in transportation and commercial vehicle markets, also suggests that U.S. economic growth in 2019 remains in a positive, if less certain, environment.

“The month of January was marked by high volatility in policy, in financial markets, and in the data trends we follow,” Vieth said.  “Even in these turbulent times, the whipsawing of the past several months is atypical; while continuing growth is expected, uncertainty surrounding U.S. trade policy and a slowing global economy warrant caution.”

Regarding the Class 8 market, Vieth said the heavy-duty truck market is maintaining its momentum, but the critical question remains cycle duration.

“Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, we continue to maintain a largely unchanged Class 8 outlook, which anticipates that a growing supply-demand imbalance will erode demand into the end of the year,” he said.

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets.

ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers More information can be found at








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