Commercial vehicle market poised for an upward crawl

Production of new heavy- and medium-duty commercial vehicles reached a trough in the second quarter of 2009, with the third quarter projected to be the start of a slow but steady recovery, according to ACT Research Co.

In the latest release of the North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook, ACT indicates Class 8 production reached a low point in the second quarter, down 57% from the prior year. Quarterly production rates will begin a slow climb in the third quarter, although year-over-year declines will continue until the first quarter of 2010. Medium-duty truck (Classes 5-7) production, down 53% in the second quarter, will also begin a rebound, but at a slower rate, largely due to continued softness in the construction industry.

“While the body of evidence continues to grow suggesting the worst of the recession has past, the data also show that substantive imbalances remain,” said Kenny Vieth, partner and senior analyst with ACT Research. “The economic retreat has hit particularly hard in key freight generating sectors, triggering the outsized decline in commercial vehicle demand. While we see upward movement from these depressed levels, it will be late in 2011 before the North American market returns to normal replacement-level demand.”

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