ACT Forecast: CV Production to Fall 66%, Engine Demand Muted in Tandem



According to the recently released N.A. Commercial Vehicle On-Highway Engine Ooutlook, published by ACT Research and Rhein Associates, truck and tractor production volumes are forecast to fall precipitously in 2020, and with them the demand for engines.

Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research, noted, “Coming off the peak of 2019, we expect North American Class 8 heavy commercial vehicle production to drop an eye-watering 66% this year. Retail sales will show a smaller reduction, but only because high inventory levels must be reduced to levels in-line with lower demand.”

“Freight demand has fallen, global supply chains have been severely disrupted, and even before COVID-19, the world was shifting toward increased e-commerce,” Vieth elaborated. “The pandemic’s impact has only hastened that trend; in March, e-commerce recorded a 50% increase in home goods sales, and a more than 200% jump in on-line food deliveries. All this has a direct correlation to the number and types of commercial vehicles needed, buffered currently by the industry’s ability to adjust production amid lock downs and shutdowns.”

Andrew Wrobel, global market intelligence Commercial Vehicle and Off-Highway Forecasts of Rhein Associates, commented, “It is anticipated that trucks will increase use of smaller displacement engines, while the forecast predicts a gradual reduction in favor of the 12-14L category for use in tractors, as opposed to the over 14L category. We expect the 12-14L engine segment to dominate in tractor-use demand by 2024.”

Regarding Classes 5-7, Wrobel said, “In this market, the current metric of interest is gasoline penetration, which continues to gain share, and is forecast to hit nearly 24% of the market by 2024.”

When asked about alternative fuels, Wrobel commented, “Last-mile delivery companies have taken the lead in requiring alternative fuel vehicles due to their proximity to consumers, favorable economics and the enhancement of brand image. That said, oil prices have plummeted and fleets welcome the lower diesel costs, but we still see committed CNG users striving to meet corporate green initiatives with that fuel.”

About non-fossil fuel alternatives, Wrobel explained, “Transit buses have seen the greatest application of electric medium and heavy-duty vehicles to date, but major truck OEMs and new entrant programs are underway. Electric medium and heavy trucks are coming, albeit slowly.”

The NA On-Highway Engine OUTLOOK published by ACT Research and Rhein Associates highlights power-source activity for commercial vehicle GVWs 5-8, including five-year forecasts of engines volumes and product trends. The Engine Outlook ties to the detailed NA CV vehicle forecasts published monthly by ACT in the NA Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK. This report benefits businesses and manufacturers in the commercial vehicle engine production supply chain, and any company following the investment value of engine OEMs and their suppliers.

Additionally, ACT Research has created an easily accessible COVID-19 MARKET WATCH webpage to track noteworthy high frequency macroeconomic and transportation-specific market indicators.

ACT’s 63rd seminar is scheduled for August 11-13, 2020. Focused on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will feature dealer, alternative power, and economic panels, as well as discussions on near-term demand of North American commercial vehicle markets and the pending impact of alternative power on the market in the near future. Both in-person and livestream options are available for those who wish to participate. Click here for seminar information.

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Terry Mulreany
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