Demand for commercial vehicles ‘not on the worry list,’ ACT says

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Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst for ACT Research, said social distancing has resulted in changes in spending, resulting in surging freight volumes and, by extension, increased demand for commercial vehicles.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — According to ACT Research’s latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, there are any number of concerns regarding the economy in coming months, but one thing that definitely can be crossed off the worry list is commercial vehicle demand into 2021.

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“Freight markets — and by extension, commercial vehicle demand — have landed in the upper half of the ‘K-shaped’ economic recovery, thanks to social-distanced changes in spending,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst for ACT.

“Consumer and business expenditures have shifted away from experience-based spending on services towards trucking-reliant spending on goods,” he continued. “Coupling surging freight volumes with the large driver capacity take-out in April, freight rates have been at record levels for weeks.”

ACT’s State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 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 published in conjunction with this report.

“The rebound in carriers’ fortunes is reflected in September’s Class 8 statistics, with orders and backlogs jumping, build rates rising, and an uptick in retail sales volumes that pushed inventories lower,” Vieth said. “Except for lower inventories, September’s medium-duty statistical roundup is a fair approximation of heavy-duty activity, with orders and backlog jumping, build rates on the rise, and strong sales.”

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