ACT Research: Build, Not Demand, the Concern for CV Markets at the Beginning of 2021

ACT Research Co.
3 min readJan 28, 2021

In the release of its Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest, ACT Research reported that their forecasts were raised across-the-board in January, amid greater-than-expected build rates, which continue to apply upward pressure to forecasts.

The report, which combines ACT’s proprietary data analysis from a wide variety of industry sources, paints a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. This monthly report includes a relevant but high-level forecast summary, complete with transportation insights for use by commercial vehicle dealer executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy and medium duty segments, the total US trailer market, used truck sales information, and a review of the US macro economy.

“We always track the forecasts relative to the actual results. However, there comes a point in every year when the models take a backseat to what is actually happening,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He continued, “With ACT’s freight metric indicating 10% freight growth in 2021, the question today has moved from what the models are saying to trying to determine the speed at which build rates climb from here.”

Vieth elaborated, “The reengagement of the global economy has created significant constraints on steel supply, and could be a limiting factor in early 2021 as the supply chain attempts to ramp to build more trucks and trailers. Microchips have also been added to the list of supply chain concerns.”

He concluded, “At this juncture, our expectation is that the industry will follow standard procedures and red-tag incomplete trucks coming off the assembly line and repair them on the back end. As an illustration, the industry continued to build through a tire-and-axle shortage a few years back. While we believe this will be the case, we are monitoring the situation and will make adjustments to build expectations, accordingly.”

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

ACT’s 64th Seminar is scheduled for February 23–25, 2021. Focused on the continuous evolution and advancement of power and energy changes in the transportation and commercial vehicle markets, OUTLOOK Seminar 64 will feature key industry leaders such as Ryan Reed of Wabash National, John Bennett from Meritor, Lance Riegel of Marvin Johnson, and Dominick Beckman from Hino Motors. Look for more details on this event over the coming months and save the date for February’s event. Click here for seminar information.

Click here for more information about ACT’s Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest.

Click here for information about other ACT Research publications and services.



ACT Research Co.

ACT Research is the leader in commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis, and forecasting services for North America.