Heavy-duty truck demand at start of “upcycle”

In easily the most upbeat release in years of its ACT North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook, ACT Research Co. (ACT) said today that the “fundamentals that support heavy-duty commercial vehicle demand are all signaling the start of an upcycle for the market

In easily the most upbeat release in years of its ACT North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook, ACT Research Co. (ACT) said today that the “fundamentals that support heavy-duty commercial vehicle demand are all signaling the start of an upcycle for the market.” The forecasting firm backed that highly positive statement up by reporting that net orders for both Class 8 vehicles and commercial trailers “surged in the last quarter of 2010, indicating trucking fleets are ramping up replacement of vehicles that has largely been deferred the past two years.”

“The combination of rising freight volumes, improving trucker profits, rising used equipment values and the oldest North American fleet on record have led to a resurgence in demand for new commercial vehicles,” pointed out Vieth, president & senior analyst with ACT Research.

ACT now projects full-year 2010 production of Class 8 vehicles to come in at approximately 154,500 units-- up 31% from a “weak” 2009, but still well below normal replacement demand.”

However, on a much brighter note, the firm said it forecasts that heavy-truck demand “will continue to ramp up over the next two years, with production in 2012 and 2013 exceeding 300,000 units.

And while ACT called production of commercial trailers “extremely weak” in 2009, its latest forecast sees that vehicle segment posting annual growth rates in excess of 50%-- in both 2010 and 2011.

“The biggest constraint in 2011 will be the ability of equipment manufacturers and component parts suppliers to ramp up production fast enough [to meet OEM demand],” Vieth added. “As a result, the [new vehicle sales] upcycle is expected to last through 2013.”.

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

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