Class 8 Regression to the Mean Coming in 2020

According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, the Class 8 market is moving from peak activity in sales and build in 2019 to a substantial correction in 2020. Activity for the total MD market was mixed in September, with weakness in sequential comparisons, but expansion still evident in longer-term performance.
The report, which combines ACT’s proprietary data analysis from a wide variety of industry sources, paints a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. This monthly report is designed as a quick look into transportation insights for use by fleet and trucking executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy and medium duty segments, the US trailer market, used truck sales information, and an overview of the US macro economy.
ACT_61__294“With the trade war as a major caveat to forecast expectations, our underlying view is that the economy will experience slower growth but not recession in 2020, setting the heavy-duty truck market up for a modest rebound in 2021 followed by growth into 2023. However, the far years of this forecast are influenced by the prospect of new emission controls in 2024, triggering a 2023 prebuy, followed by a 2024 payback,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He continued, “This regression-to-the-mean for 2020, after near-record production in 2019, has been our forecast since early 2018, so our subscribers have had nearly two years of yellow-light signals on the upcoming correction.”
Regarding the medium duty market, Vieth commented, “Customers clearly remain concerned about the near-term future, as demonstrated by the continuing pullback in order activity that has led to narrower backlogs. Despite the weaker looking front-end of the demand cycle and very high inventories, build and sales continue to perform at near-record levels.”
ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.
ACT’s 62nd seminar is scheduled for February 11-13, 2020, and will feature trucker, electrification, and economic panels, as well as discussions on near-term demand of North American commercial vehicle markets and the pending impact of electrification on the market in the near future. A commercial vehicle database workshop is also being planned in conjunction with this semi-annual event.