Commercial vehicle markets on a slow road to recovery

Oct. 13, 2009
After three consecutive years of double-digit production declines, including more than 40% declines in 2009, the medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle markets are at the beginning of a three-year period of steady growth, according to ACT Research Co

After three consecutive years of double-digit production declines, including more than 40% declines in 2009, the medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle markets are at the beginning of a three-year period of steady growth, according to ACT Research Co.

In the latest release of the North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook, ACT indicates heavy-duty (Class 8) truck production reached a low point of 25,000 in the second quarter, down 57% from the prior year. ACT predicts quarterly production rates will begin a slow climb in the third quarter, although year-over-year declines will continue until the first quarter of 2010. Medium-duty truck (Classes 5-7) production, down 53% to 22,000 in the second quarter, also will begin a rebound in the third quarter but at a slower rate, largely due to continued softness in the construction industry.

“We believe the economy emerged from recession in the third quarter and expect gradual strengthening through 2010,” said Kenny Vieth, partner and senior analyst with ACT. “However, growth is likely to be slower than in a traditional recovery as consumers and financial institutions pare debt; baby-boomers increase their savings; government stimulus slows; and longer-term, higher taxes, inflation, or both impact consumption and investment.”

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