COVID-19 pandemic leaves mark on May commercial-vehicle market with ‘tepid’ activity, ACT says

Class 8 trucks
ACT Research noted month-over-month improvement in the North American commercial-vehicle market in May, but figures are still far below May 2019.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — According to ACT Research’s latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, the economy continues to reopen with some very big numbers being reported on easy comparisons, after falling sharply the past few months.

The report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales and general state of the on-road heavy- and medium-duty commercial vehicle markets in North America. It differentiates market indicators by Class 5, Classes 6-7 chassis and Class 8 trucks and tractors, detailing measures such as backlog, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders and retail sales.

Additionally, Class 5 and Classes 6-7 are segmented by trucks, buses, RVs and step van configurations, while Class 8 is segmented by trucks and tractors with and without sleeper cabs. The report includes a six-month industry build plan, backlog timing analysis, historical data from 1996 to the present in spreadsheet format, and a ready-to-use graph package. A first look at preliminary net orders is also published in conjunction with the report.

“Hand in hand with the reopening, states across the country continue to reach new highs for COVID-19 cases. While we do not anticipate shutdowns á la April, the reacceleration in cases around the country is a reminder that the economic recovery currently underway is thin and heavily subsidized,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s president and senior analyst. “The pandemic’s stamp can be seen across May’s commercial vehicle statistics, with tepid Class 8 order activity, soft production, and falling sales that illustrate weakness from the beginning to the end of the demand spectrum.”

Vieth said that despite May’s improvements, sales and build for commercial vehicles remained far behind figures recorded in May 2019.

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