ACT: Used Truck Sales Cycle at the Beginning of the End

Preliminary used Class 8 retail volumes (same dealer sales) fell 10% month-over-month, and were 40% lower compared to May of 2021, according to the latest preliminary release published by ACT Research.

Other data released in ACT’s preliminary report included month-over-month comparisons for May 2022, which showed that average retail price and average age both were virtually unchanged, at -1% and +1%, respectively, while average miles were 2% lower m/m. Compared to May of 2021, the average retail price was 66% higher, with average miles and age greater by 4% and 7%, respectively.

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, “Unfortunately, long-awaited reports of loosening inventories come at exactly the wrong time in the cycle. At the same time, this is part of the phenomenon that defines an inflection point of the cycle.” He elaborated, “Freight growth is slowing, soon to begin shrinking. Yet, since profitability tends to lag the cycle, truckers continue to make money and invest in equipment, ultimately over-capacitizing the market. As a direct result, the industry is already seeing significant downward pressure on freight rates, which will result in decreased truck demand, and ultimately, lower truck prices.”

Tam continued, “Nevertheless, overall pricing for Class 8 trucks was remarkably resilient in the face of all of the challenges with which it is currently confronted, and needless to say, further, steeper declines are already impacting segments of the market and expected to broaden.” He concluded, “This is the beginning of the end of the cycle, which promises to be every bit as exciting on the way down as it was on the way up.”

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