According to the latest release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks, published by ACT Research, used Class 8 volumes (same dealer sales) were 1% higher month-over-month. Longer term, volumes were down 23% y/y, but up 3% ytd. Average prices were 5% higher compared to August, 57% more expensive than in September of 2020, and 36% greater ytd. Average miles were 2% greater m/m and y/y, while average age was down 3% from August, but 5% older compared to September of 2020.
The report from ACT 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.
“Used Class 8 same dealer sales volumes reversed course in September, posting their first sequential gain in six months. Ironically, especially in light of tight supply, sales in September typically slow a few percentage points from August,” said Steve Tam, Vice President at ACT Research. He continued, “Seasonality suggests a wild ride for the rest of the year. Typically, October is the strongest sales month of the year, followed by the second weakest sales month of the year in November, with December ending the year roughly 4% above average.”
Looking at the different sales channels for used Class 8 vehicles, Tam commented, “Near-term channel results ran the gambit during the month, with the auction market driving the overall gain, flat retail activity and wholesale sales lagging. All three outlets saw lower volumes compared to September 2020. Through the first nine months of the year, only the retail segment has improved.”
He added, “Input from dealers over the last month returns us to some of the basic fundamentals in the used truck market. When trucks are plentiful, potential buyers have the luxury of shopping for the truck that most closely meets their exact requirements. Conversely, when scarcity reigns, buyers are often left with limited, or perhaps no, choice. If one needs a truck and only one truck is available, as long as it can do the job, it’s sold! And the decision is independent of the price.” Tam concluded, “And there is another dynamic that often comes into play when the market is strong - the decision by sellers to eliminate the middle man and remarket their equipment themselves. We are certainly seeing evidence of this in the current cycle.”
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.
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