ACT: Key factors will drive up Class 8 truck demand

Key trends at work in trucking point clearly to nothing less than a “strong rebound” in heavy-duty truck demand, according to ACT Research Co. (ACT). Several factors are combining to fuel this recovery in the demand for Class 8 commercial vehicles, explained the research firm

Key trends at work in trucking point clearly to nothing less than a “strong rebound” in heavy-duty truck demand, according to ACT Research Co. (ACT). Several factors are combining to fuel this recovery in the demand for Class 8 commercial vehicles, explained the research firm.

According to ACT, the motivators are:

  • Third-quarter [carrier] earnings indicate trucking company profitability continues to improve even as economic growth moderates.
  • The value of used trucks has firmed in recent months.
  • The average age of carrier fleets is as old as ever.

This combination of factors suggests a growing number of freight hauling fleets will have both the need and the ability to reinvest in equipment, pointed out ACT.

In the latest release of its North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook, ACT projects full-year 2010 production of Class 8 vehicles will be approximately 151,000 units, up 27% “from a weak 2009, but still well below normal replacement demand.”

ACT forecasts that heavy-duty truck demand” will continue to ramp up for the next two years,” with production in 2012 exceeding 300,000 units.

The forecast for medium-duty (Class 5-7) production is more “muted,” seen as growing 15 % in 2010 and 14% in 2011 due specifically to the slow recovery in the construction and housing sectors.

“Our forecast for 2010 has stayed in a narrow range for the past fifteen months as our model predicted a slow economic recovery and heavy-duty demand still well below normal replacement,” said Kenny Vieth, president & senior analyst with ACT Research.

“While headwinds make a full-blown economic recovery unlikely before 2012, recent trends in the transportation and commercial vehicle markets point toward demand for new vehicles building throughout 2011 and 2012,” he added.

ACT publishes new and used commercial vehicle (CV) industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the China CV market.

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