According to ACT Research Co. (ACT), current economic and transportation sector trends continue to point to strengthening in trucking in the second half of 2010. And that will in turn create stronger demand for commercial vehicles late in the year and into 2011.
ACT still projects heavy-duty (Class 8) vehicle production should grow 18% year-over-year in the first half of 2010, largely due to stronger orders late in 2009 in advance of the latest EPA engine emissions mandate. But with fundamentals expected to improve in the truckload market by mid-year, demand is expected to increase into the end of 2010.
Production of medium-duty vehicle (Class 5-7), which is largely tied to the health of the housing market, should see a more gradual yet steady increase through 2010 and 2011.
“As we have been saying for months, a series of events is required to put commercial vehicle production on more solid footing, and those events continue to play out as expected,” said Kenny Vieth, partner and senior analyst with ACT.
“With a modestly improving economy and used truck values moving higher, finance firms appear less interested in using forbearance to keep vulnerable carriers alive,” he explained. “When you combine increased carrier bankruptcies with record large fleet capacity reduction efforts, the truckload sector is forecast to see freight volumes outstripping tractor supply by mid-year, which will set the stage for dramatic improvements for both trucking and commercial vehicle demand.”