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Heavy-duty

ACT: Commercial vehicle demand remains healthy, supply still constrained

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David Sickels is the Senior Editor of Fleet Equipment. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

According to ACT Research’s latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, the supply-demand setup for the entire industry remains unchanged. Despite rock-solid demand metrics across the spectrum of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle types, industry capacity remains range-bound across a broad front of supply-chain constraints, many but not all centered on semiconductor shortages, ACT says.

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Speaking about the supply chain constraints and commercial vehicle build, Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s president and senior analyst, said: “Unfortunately, rebuilding complex global networks requires systems to spin-up at roughly the same speed, which they are decidedly not doing today. China’s curtailing of power-grid output in recent weeks suggests that the global game of Whack-A-Mole is ongoing, and the period of supply-chain normalization continues to be pushed to the right.

“Commercial vehicle production remained under pressure in September, and both medium and heavy-duty build plans for 2021 continue to be marked down, if at a slower pace than in recent months,” he added.

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About commercial vehicle demand, Vieth said: “While the focus is deservedly on the industry’s ability to build Classes 5 to 8 vehicles, demand-side indicators continue at healthy levels. Despite turbulence that abounds with economy-wide supply shortages, there has not been much in terms of fundamental change in the macro data points that influence commercial vehicle demand. While 2021 expectations for GDP growth have fallen from 6.2% to 5.5%, economic strength is broad-based and concentrated in goods-related activity. Flowing from that, freight rates continue to rise, used truck prices are through the roof, and trucker profitability has risen through record levels with Q3 earnings off to a fast start.”

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