What’s Affecting the Commercial Vehicle Industry?
By Kathryn Schifferle, Chief Vision Officer, Work Truck Solutions
Work Truck Solutions doesn’t have a crystal ball, but we do have significant search and usage data exclusive to the commercial vehicle industry; this data helps us anticipate future trends. Just for you: the top five trends we foresee having an impact on the success of your dealership’s commercial department.
• Light-duty trucks will play an expanded role in the business world. Continued supply issues will prompt business owners to leverage myriad add-ons, like toppers, unique toolbox configurations, and tonneau options, which can expand the utility of light trucks for delivery and other services. With a pickup’s open vehicle bed, they can manage bigger loads and unevenly shaped freight.
• Medium-duty truck owners will look for multi-purpose solutions. Just as business owners are pressing their light-duty trucks into multiple roles, owners of medium-duty vehicles will also look to products that will enable them to do more with their trucks. Upfit solutions that offer the ability to be easily “switched” out for different purposes should see higher demand.
• Final-mile delivery business will continue to shape demand for specific vehicle types. U.S. commercial vehicle availability has been affected by a number of major issues, including rapid final-mile growth. Even though fewer commercial vehicles were sold in 2022, there was a significant increase in some new vehicle types. Just in the last year, the demand for SUVs, hatchbacks, and mini and passenger van models for commercial use on Comvoy.com is up more than 350%. This increase follows the 300% increase in demand on Comvoy.com from 2020 to 2021. Some of these new model types will be used in lieu of more traditional options that will continue to be scarce in 2023.
• EVs will dramatically increase market share of final-mile business. Increasingly strict government regulations will propel the adoption of EVs to new heights in 2023. California legislators are dedicated to the adoption of zero-emission vehicles and where California goes, the rest of the country often follows. Although implied concerns over greenhouse gasses seem to be a major motivator in EV development, there are more business-oriented advantages made possible by the industrial internet of things (IIoT). Myriad software programs make it easier than ever to integrate fleet EVs with a business’ value chain.
• Customer demand will continue to force providers to bring merchandise and services to the customer instead of customers going to their place of business. This role reversal began long before the Covid pandemic and shows no signs of abating. In addition to delivery continuing its meteoric rise as an essential service, the franchise space predicts that services like home renovation and restoration, in-home health care, mobile car repair, home security, pet grooming, and pest control will be big in 2023. Recreation is also close to the top of the 2023 trend list, along with expected growth in secure transport for the cannabis industry.
Now, as they say: ‘your mileage may vary’ with these predictions. But how will our industry respond to the challenges this new year will bring? Will online vs. brick-and-mortar find equilibrium with the best customer experience in mind? What new upfits will be created to enable business owners to cross-utilize each vehicle in their fleet, or to maximize the newest personal service? One thing is certain, 2023 will be a very interesting year in the commercial vehicle industry.