June Commercial Vehicle Data Returning Closer to Normal Levels

According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, May and June have returned to something closer to life as usual, following the shutdowns of March and April. Additionally, ACT Research has created an easily accessible webpage to track noteworthy high frequency macroeconomic and transportation-specific market indicators, which can be found by clicking here.

ACT’s State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales, and general state of the on-road heavy and medium duty commercial vehicle markets in North America. It differentiates market indicators by Class 5, Classes 6-7 chassis and Class 8 trucks and tractors, detailing measures such as backlog, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and retail sales. Additionally, Class 5 and Classes 6-7 are segmented by trucks, buses, RVs, and step van configurations, while Class 8 is segmented by trucks and tractors with and without sleeper cabs. This report includes a six-month industry build plan, backlog timing analysis, historical data from 1996 to the present in spreadsheet format, and a ready-to-use graph package. A first-look at preliminary net orders is also published in conjunction with this report.

“A survey of the current business landscape shows a picture of intensifying cross-currents, with an uncertain outcome,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst. He added, “On one side, the economy and motor freight have been surprisingly strong from the beginning of May to mid-July, resulting from dialed back restrictions on workplaces, relaxed shelter-in-place, and the associated revival in business and social activity. However, closely associated with return-to-normal has been its downside, the rise of COVID-19 cases.”
Regarding the commercial vehicle markets, in general, he commented, “It is important to note that unlike previous business downcycles, this recession has had its most severe impact on service sectors, and while important, they tend to be less intense users of truck transportation.”

By segment, Vieth commented, “The revival of the economy and freight is readily apparent in the sharp increase in Class 8 net orders in June, with upgrades in production, as well. Classes 5-7 orders continued their rebound in June, marking the best sequential gain since August 2009.”