According to ACT’s latest release of the North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, the global spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, required ACT Research to do a foundational reassessment of near-term economic expectations, and by extension, North American commercial vehicle demand.
The N.A. CV OUTLOOK is a robust report that forecasts the future of the industry, looking at the next 1-5 years, with the objective of giving OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers and investment firms the information needed to plan accordingly for what is to come. The report provides a complete overview of the North American markets, as well as takes a deep dive into relevant, current market activity to highlight orders, production, and backlogs, shedding light on the forecast. Information covers forecasts and current market conditions for medium and heavy-duty trucks/tractors and trailers, the macroeconomies of the United States, Canada, and Mexico, publicly-traded carrier information, oil and fuel price impacts, freight and intermodal considerations and regulatory environment impacts.
“Starting in the second half of February, COVID-19 went from a China containment story to one of spiraling pandemic,” says Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “And, six weeks after shutting down for the Spring Festival, China is only now starting to return to work. While they weren’t working, the Chinese weren’t spending either, and as the planet’s largest consumer of commodities, China’s downturn is hitting commodity prices across the board. While demand-side weakness will continue to unfold, the front-and-center impact from a freight perspective presently is on the supply-side: Domestic port and rail volumes have just begun to reflect the drop in Chinese output. Being a supplier of intermediate and finished goods, there are major implications for a number of freight-intensive economic sectors, and we are just on the cusp of feeling that pinch.”
Regarding North American commercial vehicle demand, “while we reserve the details of our forecasts for ACT subscribers, I can tell you that COVID-19 has undermined expectations across the board in 2020,” says Vieth. “Starting with lower expectations for economic output, MD, HD and trailer forecast have all been trimmed to reflect the drop-in economic activity. Beyond substantive changes in the immediate near-term, our longer-term assumptions are unchanged presently with expectations that markets will recover to trend starting in 2022.”