ACT Research: US Used Truck Retail Sales Close 2021 With 6% Increase

Preliminary used Class 8 retail volumes (same dealer sales) grew 4% month-over-month and ended 2021 with a 6% ytd increase, despite dropping 30% y/y in December, according to the latest preliminary release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks published by ACT Research.

“Preliminary same dealer retail sales improved for the first time in three months in December, but still lag compared to their year-ago level.”  - Steve Tam, ACT Research

Other data released in ACT’s preliminary report included month-over-month comparisons for December 2021, which showed that average prices rose 1%, as average miles grew 4% and average age rose 3% compared to November. Compared to December of 2020, average price was 67% higher, with average miles and age greater by 9% and 8%, respectively. On a year-to-date basis, average price is 42% above its year-ago level, with average miles and age each 1% higher ytd.

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, “Preliminary same dealer retail sales improved for the first time in three months in December, but still lag compared to their year-ago level.” He elaborated, “The month-over-month gain was muted compared to typical December activity, which is understandable in the context of insufficient inventory.”

Tam continued, “Despite the current softness, preliminary retail sales suggest the market improved by 10% compared to 2020. The gain is not only a reflection of how challenging 2020 was, but also a commentary about how resourceful the industry can be, as it pulled out all the stops to keep the wheels of commerce rolling, regardless of the challenges COVID still presents.” He concluded, “Driven by robust demand and anemic supply, the preliminary average retail selling price for used Class 8 trucks continued its relentless upward trek in December. And while the short-term outlook for pricing calls for sustained strength, albeit at a declining rate, we remain convinced that all of the dynamics currently in play suggest an orderly reversion to a more normal (whatever that is) market, as opposed to a free-fall or crash scenario.”

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

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 here

ACT’s commercial electric vehicle study, Charging Forward: 2020-2024 BEV & FCEV Forecast & Analysis, was published on March 31, 2021, after months of extensive research. Utilizing industry expertise and analysis, as well as the input from a comprehensive list of key industry study participants, ACT Research has developed a critical guide for battery electric and fuel cell electric unit build and sales forecasts over the next two decades. With coverage of Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, ACT has identified 14 market subsegments and more than 20 application types; this one-of-a-kind report is a must-have for those investing or investigating electric power opportunities. To learn more or to purchase this report, click here

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