ACT Research: Used trucks, new trailers buffeted by sluggish economy

July 31, 2012

According to figures compiled by ACT Research Co., used-truck sales in June grew 8% over May. However, those sales lagged those recorded in June 2011 as well as those for the first six months of 2011.

Used-truck pricing, though, “appears to be slowing a little more rapidly than was previously expected,” ACT salso pointed out.

“While June’s sales appear positive at face value, concerns are now surfacing, especially relative to the amount of inventory on hand and the prices at which those units were acquired,” advised Steve Tam, vice president-- Commercial Vehicle Sector with ACT.

As to used-truck pricing, he stated that the “slowdown is not necessarily permanent, nor irreversible, but is a reflection of current economic conditions. Flat demand for more units started the ball rolling. Higher prices have led to changes in financing, which are making transactions more expensive and preventing some potential buyers from making purchases.

“The solution,” Tam added, “lies in increased economic activity, which is expected, but at a measured pace.”

Turning to new-trailer orders, ACT reported in its latest State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers that “Recent softness in trailer industry orders continued in June, a further reflection of the recent soft patch in commercial vehicle demand.” Despite the decline from May, order volume was up almost 4% year-over-year.

“Total [trailer] production grew 3% for the month, but jumped 8% on a per-day basis, as June schedules had one less workday than May,” explained Frank Maly, director— CV Transportation with ACT.

”Soft orders combined with increased production to shrink industry backlogs by 7% during June,” he continued. “The industry ended the month with backlogs of just over 104k units. The industry typically works off backlog throughout the late spring and summer months, so that decline was anticipated.”

The update on the used-truck market was reported in the latest release of ACT’s State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks. This report provides data on the average used price for the top-selling Class 8 model for each of the major truck OEMs: Freightliner (Daimler); Kenworth and Peterbilt (Paccar); International (Navistar); and Volvo and Mack (Volvo).

For subscription information to reports, go to ACT’s website.

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