Forecasting higher retail sales, production for Class 8 vehicles

ACT Research is forecasting higher higher Class 8 vehicle retail sales and production volumes in 2023 and 2024. (Photo: ACT Research)

In its latest North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, ACT Research is forecasting higher Class 8 vehicle retail sales and production volumes in 2023 and 2024, compared to last month’s report.

Previous forecasts predicted a drop-off in Q4 sales and build activity, but those no longer look likely, according to ACT Research President and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth, thanks to a continuously improving macroeconomic environment.

“The upward forecast revisions reflect our view that macroeconomic positives will increasingly outweigh negatives as the calendar advances into 2024,” Vieth said.

Kenny Vieth, ACT Research president and senior analyst

“Support from consumer durables, and perhaps even capital equipment spending, will be a plus. These are sectors that usually have steep declines in a traditional recession but have held well thus far in 2023, and we expect that momentum to continue into 2024. Next year inventory accumulation should inflect to a freight tailwind, from the current destocking headwind.”

Vieth also said that weaker orders in 2023 should lead to lower and possibly historically shallow production declines in 2024, which indicates a higher Q1 production starting rate and slightly higher economic growth.

In addition, due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s upcoming 2027 emissions mandate, vehicle demand could outstrip the industry’s ability to supply them, and dealers could have more appetite for carrying more inventory through 2024’s slower periods, according to Vieth.

ACT Research’s newest report is also forecasting higher GDP, medium-duty and trailer-build figures.

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