Economic trends buoying Class 8 demand
Dec 20, 2010 3:07 PM
The freight segments of the economy continue to display signs of stability and growth, which along with other factors, is providing a solid lift in demand for commercial vehicles over the next couple of years, according to ACT Research Co. Demand for both heavy-duty (Class 8) vehicles and commercial trailers will drive significant production gains for North American OEMs in the next two years.
In the latest release of the ACT North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook, ACT projects full-year 2010 production of Class 8 vehicles at about 152,000 units, up 29% from a weak 2009, but still well below normal replacement demand. ACT forecasts demand will continue to ramp up over the next two years, with production in 2012 exceeding 300,000 units. Production of commercial trailers was weak in 2009, but the latest forecast from ACT expects the sector to post annual growth rates in excess of 50% in both 2010 and 2011.
“Our forecasts for both 2010 and 2011 have stayed in a narrow range for the past 15 months as our model predicted a slow economic recovery and deferred investment would create a strong replacement cycle as we moved into 2011,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst with ACT. “While headwinds make a full-blown economic recovery unlikely before 2012, recent trends in the transportation and commercial vehicle markets point toward demand for new vehicles building throughout 2011 and 2012.”
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