According to a recent release of ACT Research’s Transportation Digest, the Class 8 truck market continued to extend all-time records for backlog and cumulative annual orders. The medium-duty market ran like a well-oiled machine in October, maintaining its momentum and pace. Additionally, same dealer sales of used Class 8 vehicles improved 2% in October. Despite a decline in the trailer order volume compared to the previous month, October was still the second strongest month in industry history, topped only by September.
The report, which combines ACT’s proprietary data analysis across a wide variety of industry sources to paint a comprehensive picture of trends in transportation and commercial vehicle markets, also showed that while the U.S. economy remains strong, data are beginning to emerge that suggest slower growth into the new year.
“While the economy is fundamentally sound, with particular strength derived from consumers, there are a number of freight-related indicators suggesting slower economic output into the new year,” says Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He continues, “Trade and tariffs were at the top of the list of unknowns in 2018. With slowing global growth reflecting that uncertainty, getting trade policy right is even more critical to long-term U.S. economic output.”
Regarding the Class 8 market, Vieth says, “Throughout 2018, market potential has been determined by suppliers and their capacity to get product from the factory. Undoubtedly, customers were eager to buy and we believe that situation will continue at least into the first half of 2019.” He adds, “We also see high likelihood for a transition ahead, as fleet growth outstrips freight growth. Our forecast includes a call for a change of direction in late 2019.”
ACT’s 60th seminar is scheduled for March 25-27, 2019, and will feature a trucker/fleet panel, as well as discussions on near-term demand of commercial vehicles and the impacts of emerging technologies on change in the NA CV industry.