Used Class 8 retail volumes, or same dealer sales, decreased 9% in September compared to August and were 29% lower measured against last September, according to preliminary data from ACT Research.
Other data from the preliminary release of ACT’s State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks showed that average retail prices of used tractors fell 3% in September compared to the month before, average miles increased 2%, and average age contracted 4% from August. Compared to a year ago, prices are 18% higher, with average miles and age both greater by 3% and 1%, respectively.
See also: Topsy-turvy times for used trucks
“Retail unit sales reflect the challenges of both waning demand as well as the curtailed flow of units coming from trade-ins,” said Steve Tam, VP of ACT. “Encoded in the supply-demand dynamics, the impact of pricing is to the downside.”
“Of course, final interpretation depends on one’s role as a buyer or a seller,” he added. “Miles and age appear to be holding less sway over pricing but are also arguably mixed. Looking ahead, prices are likely to continue on their downward trek into the first half of 2023 before starting to head higher, predicated on underlying economic and freight assumptions.”
ACT’s used truck report provides data on the average selling price, miles, and age based on industry data. In addition, the report provides the average selling price for top-selling Class 8 models for each of the major OEMs: Freightliner (Daimler); Kenworth and Peterbilt (Paccar); International (Navistar); and Volvo and Mack (Volvo).
The used-truck market is usually attached at the hip to new-truck build, and ebbs and flows in market dynamics affect each in tandem.
See also: Sales of used Class 8s surge in August
Tam picked up on this point in his comments with the release of ACT’s preliminary data for September: “If history is any indication, September new truck builds, which totaled nearly 26,000 units, will translate into a meaningful uptick in the market in November or December once those units have worked their way through repair and reconditioning. Of course, this assumes there are customers lined up with dollars (or financing) in hand to put those units to work. Given supply has been a bigger issue than demand, that is probably a safe assumption.”
Prices for used trucks swelled last year into early this year during OEMs' struggles to fulfill orders for new vehicles because of supply chain problems and shortages of critical components such as semiconductors, electrical wiring, harnesses, axles, tires, mirrors, and plastic components. But OEMs are said to be in a slow recovery and prices for used equipment have been volatile, mostly heading down, since this spring and early summer. They dipped in July 10% compared to June, for example, according to ACT. Sales surged in August but prices continued heading down, declining another 6%.
A J.D. Power update released in September on data for the month of August also showed used Class 8 prices down across two segments, auction and retail, model years 2017 through 2021. At auction, model year 2020 Class 8s, for example, were 20% lower than July and 2019s were down 6.4%. In the retail sector, Class 8 price declines were less severe, 2.5%, for example, for a model year 2020 heavy truck.