ACT: Trade War Remains Key Risk to N.A. CV Market



According to ACT Research’s latest release of the North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, the key risk to all vehicle market forecasts, and the U.S. economy broadly, remains the trade war with China.

With US manufacturers and farmers struggling to compete on the tilted global playing field, the key driver of growth into the mid-term outlook is the U.S. consumer, who remains well positioned to keep the economy out of the ditch.

“While the subcomponents wiggled a bit, economic expectations remained unchanged this month, with growth expected to moderate in 2019 and again in 2020,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT president and senior analyst. “After growing 2.9% in 2018, the forecast calls for US GDP growth to slow to 2.3% in 2019 and soften to below 2% growth in 2020.”

Vieth added, “If the president doubles-down on the China trade war, which seems to be happening, a greater global downturn could ensue, with the worst outcomes spreading beyond the impact of tariffs and into a global currency war. Additional negative moves from this point would substantively increase the likelihood of a US recession in late 2020 or early 2021. That said, consumer fundamentals, job and wage growth and savings rates are all at healthy levels, supporting consumer confidence and spending for the time being.”

The N.A. CV OUTLOOK is a robust report that forecasts the future of the commercial vehicle industry, looking at the next 1-5 years, with the objective of giving OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, and the investment community the information they need for planning in a deeply cyclical industry. The report provides a complete overview of North American CV markets, taking a deep dive into relevant economic, freight and regulatory demand drivers, pivoting on current market activity (from orders and backlogs to production and sales), before arriving at unit forecasts for different CV vehicle classes. Information included in this report covers medium and heavy-duty trucks/tractors, and trailers, the macroeconomies of the US, Canada, and Mexico, information on carrier profitability trends, freight and intermodal considerations, and regulatory environment impacts.

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