ACT: January dip in used Class 8 sales and trailer orders

Feb. 27, 2015

Used Class 8 truck sales and trailer orders both slipped in January, according to data tracked by ACT Research.

Sales of used Class 8 trucks fell to 2,239 units in January – a decline of 12% month-over-month and 3% year-over-year. All three segments of the market – auction, retail, and wholesale – experienced that slowdown in volume, the firm added.

Still, Steve Tam, ACT’s VP-commercial vehicle sector, noted that pricing for used Class 8s increased 7% year-over-year even though the average used Class 8 age is up by 1%.

“The pull back in volumes was in line with a seasonal pattern we’ve seen in four of the last six Januarys,” he pointed out. “Two catalysts that will keep a lid on pricing growth this year are tougher comparisons and, hopefully, some relief on the inventory front.”

Trailer net orders for January dropped 32% down to 19,853 units compared to order volume back in December, noted Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research – though trailer net orders are up 18% year-over-year.

“Total trailer backlog is at its highest level in almost 20 years,” Maly added. “Part of January’s strength resulted from some 'out-of-pattern' orders as fleets are getting in queue for equipment.”

He added that trailer demand continues to receive support from a wide array of factors, including solid freight volumes, pent-up demand for replacement equipment, and increased consumer and business spending. “So the foundation is in place for 2015 to be the best trailer market since the late 1990s,” Maly stressed.

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