ACT Research: Forecast expectations for Class 8 and trailers moderate

ACT Research: Forecast expectations for Class 8 and trailers moderate

ACT Research forecasts for both Class 8 trucks and trailers have been lowered, as the recovery in freight markets remains elusive.

ACT Research forecasts for both Class 8 trucks and trailers have been lowered, as the recovery in freight markets remains elusive. The company recently published this information in its North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook.

“Within the broader Class 8 and trailer markets, U.S. Class 8 tractors and van trailers bore the brunt of the markdowns as freight metrics have failed to gain traction,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Less money in carriers’ pockets and lower industry build rates in 2024 also push down on 2025 and, to a lesser extent, 2026.”

If the industry materially cuts manufacturing production in 2024, and workers are laid off, supply-chain integrity could be compromised, ACT’s report noted.

“If layoffs do come to pass, it will be difficult for the industry to scale rapidly in 2025 and 2026 when U.S. and Canadian truckers and dealers will want all the equipment the industry can build,” Vieth added. “ACT’s research suggests that between prices, taxes and other affiliated costs, MD and HD vehicle costs will rise by between 12% and 14% as the EPA’s Clean Trucks regulation goes live in 2027. As such, we believe the OEMs will be at least partially successful in convincing customers to begin EPA’27 pre-buying in 2024. Starting pre-buying earlier should help moderate runaway demand into 2026, but risks prolonging the freight cycle downturn.”

ACT Research believes that factors include ongoing pent-up vocational truck demand, strong tractor demand in Mexico, and labor hoarding, will help support a fundamentally weak U.S. tractor market in 2024.

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