Following on the heels of rising economic expectations, ACT Research’s forecasts for Classes 5-7, Class 8, and trailer output in 2023 and 2024 moved higher again this month. Expectations for economic growth in 2023 have improved, boosting economic support for a shallower Class 8 demand trough in 2024, teeing the industry up for even stronger demand into 2025, the research firm said.
“With the economy gathering momentum into the second half of 2023, and with supporting backlogs in place, the risk to build rates into year end is now essentially in the rear view,” according to Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “While the 2024 forecasts have risen, they continue to anticipate slowing into next year, as pent-up demand for the Class 8 and trailer markets will be largely consumed by the end of this year amid strong fleet growth in the weak 2023 freight demand environment.”
Vieth went on to say that while a better economic forecast is beneficial, it won’t completely solve the challenges within the freight industry’s capacity issues. Although the freight market is anticipated to be somewhat better in 2023, and there are higher economic expectations for 2024, this is aiding in alleviating the supply-demand imbalance that truck and trailer buyers are currently dealing with. However, introducing a surplus of new trucks to an already excessively supplied market could potentially prolong the period of loose capacity, Vieth concluded.