NA Commercial Vehicle Outlook

ACT Research

ACT Research: CV Production in 2021 Is a Question of Supply, Not Demand

COLUMBUS, IN – (Trailer Technician) – According to ACT’s latest release of the North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, the question of commercial vehicle demand for 2021 has already been answered, but the number of units to be built this year remains a question of supply.

The N.A. CV OUTLOOK is a robust report that forecasts the future of the industry, looking at the next 1-5 years, with the objective of giving OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, and investment firms the information needed to plan accordingly for what is to come. The report provides a complete overview of the North American markets, as well as takes a deep dive into relevant, current market activity to highlight orders, production, and backlogs, shedding light on the forecast. Information included in this report covers forecasts and current market conditions for medium and heavy-duty trucks/tractors, and trailers, the macroeconomies of the US, Canada, and Mexico, publicly-traded carrier information, oil and fuel price impacts, freight and intermodal considerations, and regulatory environment impacts

Kenny Vieth
Kenny Vieth - ACT Research President and Senior Analyst

According to Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst, “In previous months, we have used 2018 as a corollary for achievable Class 8 output in 2021: From a nearly identical January production rate starting point, the industry managed to build nearly 325k units in 2018.” He added, “Getting to that 2018 volume included the supply chain working through not only transitory ramp-up/synchronization issues, but also labor constraints in the full-employment economy of that time.”

He continued, “From a commercial vehicle demand perspective, orders, from medium-duty trucks to heavy-duty tractors and trailers, remain elevated, with backlogs for tractors and van-type trailers, at current build rates, pushed-out 12 months. That order-to-build lag more than doubles traditional ranges for backlog-to-build ratios.”

Vieth concluded, “In 2021, those early cycle challenges are starting to moderate, only to be replaced by new capacity constraints in this period of synchronized global economic expansion amid an ongoing pandemic. The list of constraints remains long and includes chip and steel shortages, as well as plastic resin production impacted by power failures in Texas, backlogged throughput at ports, and pandemic supply-chain challenges like keeping and growing staff.”

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

What’s coming next in 2021 and 2022? ACT’s 65th OUTLOOK Seminar is the planning event for your business needs. Mark your calendar for August 24-26, 2021 to gain market updates and forecasts from ACT’s award-winning, veteran team with more than 200 years of combined industry experience. Click here for more details

ACT’s commercial electric vehicle study, Charging Forward: 2020-2024 BEV & FCEV Forecast & Analysis, was published on March 31, 2021, after months of extensive research. Utilizing industry expertise and analysis, as well as the input from a comprehensive list of key industry study participants, ACT Research has developed a critical guide for battery electric and fuel cell electric unit build and sales forecasts over the next two decades. With coverage of Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, ACT has identified 14 market subsegments and more than 20 application types; this one-of-a-kind report is a must-have for those investing or investigating electric power opportunities. To learn more or to purchase this report, click here.

For more information about ACT’s NA Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, click here.

Details about other ACT Research products and services can be found by clicking here.