Local and regional hubs for distribution and “Same-Day Delivery” services mean higher demand for commercial vehicles and their utilization. - Credit: Canva

Local and regional hubs for distribution and “Same-Day Delivery” services mean higher demand for commercial vehicles and their utilization.

Credit: Canva

Cox Automotive revealed its 2024 Fleet & Commercial Vehicle Market Trends for report at the American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council Meeting in New Orleans.

Automotive Fleet asked Cox for commentary tailored to trends in the light- and medium-duty space. Here are the top themes:

U.S. Economic Growth Supportive of Commercial Vehicle Market

  • U.S. economy is expected to grow in 2024.
  • Stability in the labor market + easing inflation.
  • Business investment will drive demand.

Stability in household consumption, manufacturing and construction activity, and even business investment are all some of the positive factors that will support the commercial vehicle and fleet market as demand for fleets increases. According to Cox Automotive research, many fleet operators’ reasoning for focusing on service and maintenance and improving operational efficiency centers around the state of the economy. This is true for fleet operators across light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicle classes. Fleets are aware of what’s happening in the economy, and are also mindful of what that means for their operations.

Miles Traveled to Grow

  • Commercial VMT should increase slightly YoY.
  • Will grow at a higher rate than personal vehicle-miles-traveled.
  • Support and demand for fleet maintenance, repair, and service.
  • Labor challenges could impact growth rates in this market.

One key impact economic growth will have on commercial vehicles is on their vehicle-miles-traveled. This is supportive for the fleet service, maintenance, and repair market as demand here should subsequently rise as well. Put another way, more driving means more need for all forms of service and maintenance to ensure vehicles are operating effectively. According to Cox Automotive research, a majority of fleet operators’ key focus areas for 2024 are related to service and maintenance. They are trying to extend vehicle life and avoid more costly repairs or are looking for efficiencies to save money or boost profit potential.

Commercial Vehicle BEV and Hydrogen Developments to Increase

Both legacy OEMs and emerging startup brands are exploring new products for the commercial vehicle market. From battery electric to hydrogen, there is an increase in the number of new products coming into market this year and beyond. New products mean new opportunities for fleets to explore and use these vehicles. According to Cox Automotive research, fleets see EVs as the future. A third of fleets surveyed will consider an electric vehicle during their next acquisition cycle.

Focus on Technology

  • Tech tools and software will continue to improve.
  • Vehicle technologies should continue to see growth.
  • Broader technological advances such as AI will also find their way into fleet management.

As is the case for industries and sectors around the world, technologies such as AI will be an area of focus for fleets. Developments in technologies, software, and even hardware will play an influential role in how fleets manage not just their vehicles, but also their data. AI-use cases are evolving each day, and it’s apparent that they can be beneficial for all types of businesses, including fleets. According to Cox Automotive research, many fleet operators who are currently using telematics in their operations cite access to data and key vehicle performance metrics as key benefits.

Fleet operators feel telematics helps them make smarter business decisions, save time and money on maintenance needs, and overall run a more efficient fleet operation.

E-commerce Plays Vital Role in Commercial Vehicle Demand

  • Household consumption will continue to shift online across a diverse set of categories.
  • E-commerce trend should remain strong as more options of goods become available.
  • Local/regional hubs for distribution and “Same-Day Delivery” services mean higher demand for commercial vehicles and their utilization.
  • There will be an increase in the need for commercial vehicles such as vans to ensure consumer demand for quicker shipped goods is met effectively.

Since the start of the pandemic we have seen a material shift in household shopping behavior gravitate towards ecommerce. Now post-pandemic we are seeing the rise of “same-day” delivery. Retailers around the country are creating new fulfilment networks, regional hubs, and distribution centers to supply consumer demand of quicker shipped goods. This means we will see an increase in commercial vehicle activity to support this growth. From durable goods to groceries, retailers will look to leverage commercial vehicles for a variety of uses to ensure they are able to keep up with consumer appetite for ecommerce and “same-day” delivery.

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Our team of enterprising editors brings years of experience covering the fleet industry. We offer a deep understanding of trends and the ever-evolving landscapes we cover in fleet, trucking, and transportation.  

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