Commercial vehicle demand remains “as good as it gets”

Commercial vehicle demand-side activity remains at as-good-as-it-gets levels, according to the Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest by ACT Research

The report, which combines ACT’s proprietary data analysis from a wide variety of industry sources, paints a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets.

Regarding demand metrics, ACT President and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth says, “ACT’s freight-weighted GDP metric is projected to expand by a record 13 percent in 2021, and robust freight markets and ongoing driver supply constraints pushed spot and contract freight rates, net fuel, to record highs in August.

“Port and railroad capacity constraints and strong demand have created large freight backlogs on the coasts, and front-side industry metrics remain hot, even as Class 8 and trailer orders have moderated in recent months due to heavily-filled and oversubscribed 2021 backlogs and still not fully opened 2022. Additional constraints on orders in this best-ever environment include difficulties establishing pricing, as commodity prices spiral and amid production uncertainty relating to parts availability,” Vieth says.

About the supply side, he adds, “In the current period of [near] record demand for commercial vehicles of all stripes, the story the past few months has shifted from one of abundance to one of constraint. While we say ‘semiconductors’ as a generic reference to the supply-chain’s shortcomings, in actuality there are scores of parts that continue to be impacted by the pandemic, by the lingering impact of steel tariffs and even by the February storm that incapacitated Texas and shutdown swathes of the U.S. plastics industry.”        

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