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ACT Research Commercial Vehicle Glossary

Commercial Vehicle & Transportation

Glossary of Terms

ACT Research Commercial Vehicle Data & Collection:

For Classes 5-8 vehicle data, ACT Research Company (ACT) collects backlog, build (production), inventory, new order, cancellation, net order, factory shipment, and retail sales statistics monthly from all major North American Classes 5-8 vehicle manufacturers. The data cover the U.S., Canadian, Mexican, and export markets. Below, is a listing of ACT’s commercial motor vehicle and trailer definitions.

Truck & Tractor Terms

CLASSES: U.S. vehicles are divided into 8 classes based upon the gross vehicle weight (GVW)

LIGHT DUTY: GVW classes 3-4. Includes, trucks, buses, and recreational vehicles.

LIGHT MEDIUM: GVW class 5 – some are light, some are medium. Includes trucks, shuttle buses, and RVs.

MEDIUM DUTY (MD): GVW classes 6-7. All fuel types and applications including class 6-7 school buses.

CLASS 8 VEHICLES: defined as a straight truck or tractor over 33,001 lbs.

MIDRANGE: Classes 3 – 7 vehicles. Refers to a typical operation range of vehicles, which is primarily of a local and regional nature.

MARKET and/or BUSINESS INDICATORS: Includes new and net orders, cancellations, backlog, build, inventory, factory shipments, and retail sales.

BACKLOG: The backlog is the number of vehicles that have been ordered but have not yet been built. Backlog is calculable: Past backlog + current net orders – current build = new backlog.

BUILD: Build, or production, pertains to the number of vehicles produced for a given market, NOT the country in which the actual production takes place. When a unit leaves the assembly line it is counted in the build data.

NEW ORDERS: New orders are the total number of orders received by the industry each month. Also referred to as gross orders.

CANCELLATIONS: Cancellations are units that have been ordered previously and are then canceled. Order and cancellation cannot occur in the same month.

NET ORDERS: New Orders – Cancellations = Net Orders.

INVENTORY: Inventory is the number of units that have been built, but for which no retail sale has yet taken place. Inventory is a calculable number, rather than an additive, number: Past inventory + current build – current retail sales = current inventory.

FACTORY SHIPMENTS: Units that have been built and have left the factory. Factory shipment data is read as “built-in” a country.

RETAIL SALES: Retail sales are the number of units sold to end-users.

Factory shipments vs. Retail sales: For the trucking industry, ACT tracks monthly and annual retail sales data. These numbers differ from factory shipments. Total OEM build is not equal to or the same as factory shipments (as reported by Wards). A factory shipment takes place when the truck leaves the factory. A retail sale takes place when the truck is actually sold. The timing of a vehicle’s build, its subsequent shipment from the producing factory, and the final retail sales are three different events that do not occur on the same day.

Trailer Terms

ACT collects data monthly from OEMs within the Trailer Industry Control Group (TICG). The TICG represents over 80% of the factory shipments of the U.S. trailer industry.

MARKET INDICATORS:

BACKLOG: The backlog is the number of vehicles that have been ordered but have not yet been built. Backlog is calculable: Past backlog + current net orders – current build = new backlog.

BUILD: Build, or production, pertains to the number of vehicles produced for a given market, NOT the country in which the actual production takes place. When a unit leaves the assembly line it is counted in the build data.

NEW ORDERS: New orders are the total number of orders received by the industry each month. Also referred to as gross orders.

CANCELLATIONS: Cancellations are units that have been ordered previously and are then cancelled. Order and cancellation cannot occur in the same month. NET ORDERS: New Orders – Cancellations = Net Orders.

INVENTORY: Inventory is the number of units that have been built, but for which no factory shipment has yet taken place. Inventory is a calculable number, rather than an additive, number: Past inventory + current build – current factory shipments = current inventory.

FACTORY SHIPMENTS: Units that have been built and have left the factory.

TRAILERS: A trailer is a vehicle without motive power designed for carrying property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle. The following are sub-groups within trailers:

Dry Vans: Totally enclosed trailer for dry cargo.

Reefer Vans: A refrigerated van trailer. Used for hauling any product that is temperature-sensitive, such as food, film, and medications.

Platforms: A trailer chassis consisting of a flat loading deck without permanent sides or roof.

Low Beds: A trailer designed to carry large and heavy loads where loaded height is critical. Typically see moving large construction equipment.

Dumps: Three types of dump trailers: side, bottom, and end. Used in basic industries and construction. Used for aggregates, such as stone, coal, and sand.

Tanks: A trailer with a liquid-tight vessel to carry liquid or dry bulk freight.

Containers: Containers are the boxes that are used in intermodal service to haul either domestic or international goods. Due to international freight flows, there are no international 20’ or 40’ containers built in North America. The containers produced in the North American market are for domestic freight only and are produced in both dry and refrigerated configurations.

Chassis (aka: container chassis): Chassis are the means by which containerized intermodal freight is delivered from steamships and railroads to customers. A container/chassis combination is basically a two-piece dry van.

Dolly, Converter gear: An auxiliary undercarriage assembly consisting of a chassis, fifth wheel, and tow bar used in combination trailer service.

Freight Terms

Freight: Goods transported in bulk by truck, rail, ship, or aircraft.

Truckload (TL): Mode of freight for larger shipments. Typically occurring when shippers are required to utilize the full 53′ area of a trailer for a shipment.

Less-than-Truckload (LTL): Mode of freight for smaller shipments. Typically occurring when shippers have more than a parcel but less than a full truckload shipment.

Intermodal: Mode of freight for shipments that involve two or more different modes of transportation.

Freight Volume: The amount of freight that is being shipped across all markets.

Freight Capacity: The ability, or maximum amount of freight that can be shipped.

Freight Rate(s): The price point that which cargo (freight) is delivered from one point to another.

Spot Rate(s): The negotiated price quoted for immediate settlement between a shipper and a broker.

Contract Rate(s): The negotiated price agreed upon for a term of service between a shipper and a broker.

Supply-Demand Balance: A measurement via ACT Research’s Truckload Rate Gauge to understand to whom rates currently and are forecast to favor.

Truckload Spot Leading Indicator: A proprietary indicator that allows ACT Research to understand the future of spot rates.

Tonnage: Freight unit of volume or weight used for charging or measuring freight shipments.

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