According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, conditions in the Class 8 market are solid, benefitting from momentum generated in 2018 that should carry the market to peaks that are likely to take the industry to its highest non-prebuy levels ever. The Classes 5-7 market started 2019 with mixed results at high levels.
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 suggests that U.S. economic growth in 2019 remains positive, although slowing, in a less certain environment.
“With two months of Class 8 data for 2019, visibility on the current year is improving and current conditions are solid,” says Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He continues, “However, volatile financial markets, weak overseas economies, higher financing rates from past Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, and the impact of erratic government policy on business confidence risk slowing things as the year progresses.”
Regarding the medium-duty market, Vieth says, “We’re seeing strong build, but flat orders, and falling sales, relative to December.” He adds, “Weaker medium-duty orders are the largest detractor from a higher 2019 forecast, with softening in key end markets such as light vehicles and housing acting as a governor on demand. And, with higher interest rates and rising prices, growth is expected to remain restrained.”