With the beginning of COVID vaccine distribution, the likelihood of Congressional assistance for those still suffering from COVID’s impact and healthy freight rates, commercial vehicle demand remains strongly positioned heading into 2021, according to ACT Research’s latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report
“With vaccine distribution starting this week and the likelihood that Congress will finally provide assistance to those left in COVID’s wake, we are more optimistic that we are nearing the end of the pandemic tunnel and are on the cusp of a better 2021,” says ACT President and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth.
“Of course, with Americans now dying at a 100,000-per-month clip, these positive developments are tinged with the recognition that considerable misery remains,” Vieth says. “With freight rates in record territory since September boosting profits and a freight-heavy 2021 economic outlook, the rule of thumb oft-heard at ACT, ‘truckers buy trucks when they make money,’ again passes the test.”
Addressing certain commercial vehicle segments, Vieth says, “It seems that everyone is ordering in the Class 8 segment, but the tractor market is rising at a considerably more rapid clip, against easier year-ago comparisons, than the truck market.”
Despite the uptick in orders and build, ACT cautions the growing steel shortage and potential for COVID to still wreak havoc on the supply chain could impact build rates into early next year, he says.
“Order performance was mixed across the three market components that ACT tracks, with truck orders benefitting from e-commerce demand, RVs enjoying a pandemic-related boost, but social distancing continuing to weigh on school bus orders,” Vieth says regarding the medium-duty segment.