According to the latest ACT Research State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Report, “’Almost exactly as expected’ would be a reasonable phrase for February’s crop of heavy truck data, particularly given well-behaved cancellations, steady build rates and an order-to-build imbalance that is keeping backlogs falling from high levels.”
“The data continue to tell a couple of stories. First and foremost, it is a story of current demand strength, with truckers making money, the near-term backlog jam-packed, and robust retail sales suggesting good follow-through on all those orders,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research president and senior analyst. “The second story starts with ‘puny’ freight metrics, pivots on robust build and sales and ends at the nominal reality of a 70,000 Class 8 inventory.” The report indicated that, in short, freight growth is stagnating and Class 8 population growth is accelerating, a supply-demand story that typically does not end well.
Regarding the medium duty markets, Vieth commented, “The medium duty metrics also are aligned with expectations; cancellations are at benign levels, build rebounded to trend rates in February, and backlogs reached a nine-plus-year high.”
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