After essentially holding the line on the forecast since last July, ACT Research announced Monday it has pushed its 2024 Class 8 production and sales expectations up in February, as published in its latest North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook report.
“In addition to an improving economic outlook, the decision to boost the forecast, despite near-term inventory risks, reflects the industry’s ability to more aggressively sell into Mexico and export markets, while maintaining strength in domestic vocational,” says Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “The 2024 market is atypically bifurcated: considerable strength remaining in U.S. and Canadian vocational markets and Mexico helps offset otherwise weak demand in U.S. and Canadian tractor markets, LTL excluded.”
Vieth adds with more time-sensitive manufacturing loads to haul, pent-up demand, and a strong peso, the forecast also anticipates Mexico-bound Class 8 production will rise considerably in 2024.
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“We think the economy’s cooperation, plus the OEMs’ desire to ensure supply-chain integrity by making sure the industry’s labor supply remains largely intact through 2024, adds upside to our higher forecast,” says Vieth. “While we view upside as more likely than down, we remain concerned that the largest piece of the North American market, U.S. for-hire truckload, is unlikely to be helpful in driving volume this year.”