ACT: May Commercial Vehicle Data Shows Pandemic’s Mark

According to ACT Research’s latest North American Classes 5-8 report, the economy continues to reopen after falling sharply the past few months.

The report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales and general state of the on-road heavy and medium duty commercial vehicle markets in North America. It differentiates market indicators by Class 5, Classes 6-7 chassis and Class 8 trucks and tractors, detailing measures such as backlog, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders and retail sales. Additionally, Class 5 and Classes 6-7 are segmented by trucks, buses, RVs and step van configurations, while Class 8 is segmented by trucks and tractors with and without sleeper cabs.

The report includes a six-month industry build plan, backlog timing analysis, historical data from 1996 to the present in spreadsheet format and a ready-to-use graph package. A first-look at preliminary net orders is also published in conjunction with this report.

“Hand-in-hand with the reopening, states across the country continue to reach new highs for COVID-19 cases. While we do not anticipate shutdowns á la April, the reacceleration in cases around the country is a reminder that the economic recovery currently underway is thin and heavily subsidized,” Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research, said. “The pandemic’s stamp can be seen across May’s commercial vehicle statistics, with tepid Class 8 order activity, soft production and falling sales that illustrate weakness from the beginning to the end of the demand spectrum.

“We often note that the medium duty market is roughly half as volatile as the Class 8 tractor market, and that statement holds up under the weight of COVID-19. Relative to heavy duty, the Classes 5-7 demand picture is comparatively restrained, with May’s orders rebounding from April’s worst-in-a-decade volumes. Despite the sequential upticks, sales and build for the commercial vehicle sectors in May remained woefully behind those recorded a year ago.”

Additionally, ACT Research created a webpage to track noteworthy high frequency macroeconomic and transportation-specific market indicators.

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets.

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