According to ACT Research’s latest release of the North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, current Class 8 build rates may suggest upside to the 2019 forecast, but large new inventories and deteriorating freight and rate conditions suggest erring on the side of caution remains the right call.
The statement was given an exclamation point Wednesday with the release of Wards Intelligence’s month report on Class 8 sales in the United States.
According to Wards Class 8 sales in June were down 3.8% from May, the first month-over-month decline since February, albeit the fact that the months increased from March through May had steadily declined from 15% in March to 1.7% in May.
The 22.5% increase year-over-year for June was the lowest the first six months of the year.
Wards said 23,500 Class 8 trucks were sold in June compared with 24,424 in May 2019 and 21,251 in June 2018.The best month-over-month increase in June was International at 8.9%. Mack was second at 4%.
On the other end of the spectrum, Volvo sales dropped 23.8 percent from May to June and Western Star was down 20.9%
International also has the best year-to-date gain at 36.6%, Freightliner is second at 29%.
“Current Class 8 market activity is rapidly approaching the precipice, and everyone should be preparing for a rapid downward correction in production levels in the next handful of months,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Current data and anecdotes make a strong case that the call for a Q3’19 inflection point expectation remains intact.”
Regarding heavy vehicle demand, Vieth noted, “At the heart of our cycle duration prediction, carrier profitability and production peaks always lag the freight cycle, so capacity building always accelerates relative to freight growth at exactly the wrong time.” He added, “Excluding the prebuy and housing bubble impacted 2004-2006 cycle, peak-of-cycle build rates have historically lasted around 5 quarters. For this Class 8 cycle, we date peak build rates to June 2018, so we are just now entering quarter five.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.