According to ACT Researchthe last State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, Class 8 net orders recorded in the last six months were only exceeded by the six-month period ending in October 2018.
“Unlike this period of October 2018, when the seeds of the fall of the cycle had already been sown by tariffs and trade wars, the economy is supporting considerable pent-up industrial and consumer demand, with stimulus programs that fuel the fire, ”Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research, said. “ACT’s current GDP growth forecast in 2021 is 6.4%. Due to the composition of economic activity, ACT’s GDP-based freight proxy expects freight volumes to increase by 12.6%. This replaces 1984 as the best year on record based on ACT’s composite freight methodology. As freight growth is expected to slow, as consumer habits begin to revert to more traditional levels of spending on goods versus services, GDP and freight activity are expected to remain high. “
By commercial vehicle segment, Mr. Vieth said, “With economic growth in the right places, freight rates and carrier profits are growing into record territory. In response, Class 8 orders over the past two quarters have resulted in rapid growth in the backlog. Perhaps stating the obvious, the responsiveness of the supply chain will be the key determinant of commercial vehicle production in 2021. “
Regarding the mid-size vehicle segment, Vieth said, “Although our ‘best since’ Class 8 comparisons go back to 2018, we need to go back to 2006 to find a comparable time period for average service demand.”