According to the latest report issued by ACT Research Co. (ACT), a “strong rebound in net margins for publicly traded truckload (TL) companies in the second calendar quarter is expected to fuel continued improvement in demand for heavy-duty vehicles and trailers. As stated in the latest release of the ACT North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook, the firm projects full-year production of heavy-duty (Class 8) vehicles will be up 26% compared to 2009 and will “accelerate into 2011.”

And ACT sees production of commercial trailers expected to increase by 47% in 2010 and also post strong growth in 2011.

On the other hand, because it is “closely tied to the health of the housing sector,” ACT sees the medium-duty vehicle sector continuing to recover slowly.

“Trucker profitability rebounded sharply in the second quarter, fueled by tightening capacity and rising freight rates,” said John Burton, vp-- transportation sector with ACT Research. “Even with modest economic growth, commercial vehicle demand should continue to rise as carriers appear to be replacing an aging fleet but not adding capacity.

“Demand for new heavy-duty vehicles continues to be well below normal replacement levels,” he continued, “meaning overall fleet capacity is shrinking due to scrappage and export of used tractors.”

That amounts to good news, he explained, as “this will allow truckers to retain pricing leverage and profits.”

ACT publishes new and used commercial vehicle industry data and provides market analysis and forecasting services for both the North America and China commercial-vehicle markets.