Class 8 truck production is forecast to continue its growth trend into 2019 and the diesel engine will remain the dominant power source. However, changes in demand for straight trucks and tractors will impact the type of diesel engines ordered this year. Those predictions are per the North American Commercial Vehicle On-Highway Engine Outlook, which was recently released by co-publishers ACT Research and Rhein Associates.
“Tractors continue to be more impacted by cyclical demand than vocational trucks,” commented Tom Rhein, president of Rhein Associates. “The truck share of Class 8 fell to just below 27% in 2018, and is forecast to reach a similar level in 2019. Average truck production from 2019-2023 is expected to increase nearly 8% over the average of the past five years, while average tractor production is forecast at almost 3% below the past five-year average.”
As for Class 5-7 trucks, Rhein said that the market share of Class 5 trucks has “stabilized around 36-38% of the medium duty market, where it is forecast to remain.”
Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research, remarked that, “Diesel power is under attack long-term for use in on-highway commercial vehicles. Alternative power is being developed, tested, and refined, even as diesel engines are transitioning to become more fuel efficient and clean.”
He added that emission regulations are one of the main drivers of alternative fuel adoption, which he said is why the report includes a section on the commercial vehicle regulatory environment.
The Engine Outlook covers power-source activity for Class 5-8 trucks and includes five-year forecasts of engine volumes and product trends. The engine report ties to the commercial vehicle forecasts published monthly by ACT.
Presidential candidate Andrew Yang said in the Democratic primary debate in Atlanta on Nov. 20 that if elected, he would appoint a "trucking czar" to oversee the transition from human drivers to autonomous vehicles.