ACT Research U.S. Tractor Dashboard Falls Into Negative Territory

Conditions that were propelling Class 8 tractor demand through the middle of 2018 are starting to fade.

ACT Research
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According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest release of the ACT North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, signs continue to mount that the freight cycle is getting long in the tooth. 

“ACT’s U.S. Tractor Dashboard, an aggregation of 15 metrics designed to predict the direction of Class 8 net orders, went from neutral to negative in October, with the reading falling month-over-month from a neutral +1 reading to a negative -5 reading in October,” says Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He elaborates, “Negative readings are correlated with orders falling below replacement levels. While a sharp drop in orders is perhaps a moot point with a 300k-plus Class 8 backlog, it nevertheless shows that the conditions that were propelling tractor demand through the middle of 2018 are starting to fade.”

Regarding ACT’s medium-duty forecasts, Vieth says, “Preliminary November pulled back on cue, though not quite as much as expected. Steady demand, combined with moderate growth in build and sales kept forecasts unchanged during the month. Better-than-expected orders, averaging nearly 25,000 units per month for the past year, continue to exert moderate upward pressure on medium-duty forecasts.”