In the latest release of the ACT North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook, ACT Research Co. projects full-year 2010 production of Class 8 vehicles approximately 154,500 units, up 31 percent from a weak 2009, but still well below normal replacement demand.
The fundamentals that support heavy-duty commercial vehicle demand are all signaling the start of an upcycle for the market, according to ACT. Net orders for both Class 8 vehicles and commercial trailers surged in the last quarter of 2010, indicating trucking fleets are ramping up replacement of vehicles that has largely been deferred the past two years.
ACT forecasts that demand will continue to ramp up over the next two years, with production in 2012 and 2013 exceeding 300,000 units. Production of commercial trailers was extremely weak in 2009, but the latest forecast from ACT expects the sector to post annual growth rates in excess of 50 percent in both 2010 and 2011.
“The combination of rising freight volumes, improving trucker profits, rising used equipment values and the oldest North American fleet on record have led to a resurgence in demand for new commercial vehicles,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst with ACT Research. “The biggest constraint in 2011 will be the ability of equipment manufacturers and component parts suppliers to ramp up production fast enough. As a result, the upcycle is expected to last through 2013.”