ACT Research: US Used Truck Retail Sales Begin 2022 with Volume Decrease, Prices Still on the Rise

Preliminary used Class 8 retail volumes (same dealer sales) shrank 8% month-over-month and were 32% lower compared to January of 2021, according to the latest preliminary release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks published by ACT Research.

Other data released in ACT’s preliminary report included month-over-month comparisons for January 2022, which showed that average prices rose 9%, as average miles grew 1% and average age dropped 1% compared to December. Compared to January of 2021, average price was 82% higher, with average miles and age greater by 6% each.

“As is historically the case, preliminary same dealer retail sales nosedived in January, but not nearly as much as the expected 45% or so drop.”  - Steve Tam

ACT’s Classes 3-8 Used Truck Report provides data on the average selling price, miles, and age based on a sample of industry data. In addition, the report provides the average selling price for top-selling Class 8 models for each of the major truck OEMs – Freightliner (Daimler); Kenworth and Peterbilt (Paccar); International (Navistar); and Volvo and Mack (Volvo). This report is utilized by those throughout the industry, including commercial vehicle dealers to gain a better understanding of the used truck market, especially as it relates to changes in near-term performance.

According to Steve Tam, Vice President at ACT Research, “As is historically the case, preliminary same dealer retail sales nosedived in January, but not nearly as much as the expected 45% or so drop.” He elaborated, “For various reasons, truck buyers are generally not in the market in the dead of winter, but clearly, used trucks are still in demand today.”

Tam continued, “More pertinent is the comparison to January 2021, where sales lagged by 32%. At issue is the simple lack of inventory from which truckers can purchase. Despite the robust new truck build and sales figures that closed 2021, the used truck market is operating with less inventory than it has at almost any time in recent memory and perhaps ever.” He concluded, “The combination of through-the-roof demand and severely limited inventory has driven prices to never-before-seen levels, and we are increasingly hearing stories of fleets with unseated, late model equipment opportunistically taking advantage of current market dynamics. Those with excess capacity are selling to frustrated, traditionally new truck buyers, who are having difficulty acquiring the units they need.”

ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

ACT’s 66th Seminar is scheduled for February 22-24, 2022. Focused on the continuous evolution and advancement of autonomous and powertrain technologies in the transportation and commercial vehicle markets, OUTLOOK Seminar 66 will feature key industry leaders from Ford, Transplace, TuSimple, and the EPA, with more being added to the agenda. February’s event features three panels (US Economics, Trucker & Transportation, and Autonomous Ecosystem), as well as a fireside chat with the EPA, discussions about fleet decarbonization, electric vehicle forecasts, and reviews of freight/transportation, Class 8, Classes 5-7, the US used truck and new US trailer markets. For information about OUTLOOK Seminar 66, click  https://www.actresearch.net/seminar66/.

ACT Research recently completed POWER UP, a look at 7 global regions and more than 20 countries in a review of local regulations, infrastructure, and the impact on the adoption of battery and fuel cell electric commercial vehicles through 2040. This forecast is the first of its kind, a review of the decarbonization of commercial vehicles around the world. POWER UP is now available now at https://www.actresearch.net/power-up/.

Additionally, ACT Research published an update to CHARGING FORWARD, a North American-centric battery and fuel cell electric vehicle adoption rate forecast, covering 23 vehicle applications, in Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, through 2040. CHARGING FORWARD is considered by many industry leaders to be the apex of analysis and economic-based total cost of ownership modeling in the industry. And, it is now available for purchase at https://www.actresearch.net/electric-vehicles-charge/.

Currently, the team at ACT Research is engaged in a commercial autonomous vehicle multi-client study. Through this work, we will identify adoption rates and forecast autonomous Classes 4-8 vehicles through 2040. If you’re working to understand the economic value proposition or the unit economics of different autonomous models, participation in this study is a must. Learn more at https://www.actresearch.net/autonomous-cv/.

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