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May 26, 2022 1:02 PM, EDT

April Used Class 8 Prices High, But on the Way Down

Used Class 8s on a lot in Louisville Ky. Used Class 8 sales in April essentially were level at 22,100 compared with 21,700 in the 2021 period. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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The average used Class 8 retail sales price in April soared compared with a year earlier, as expected. But a closer vantage point showed it fell month-over-month for just the second time since July 2020, ACT Research reported.

The average retail price was $101,192, or 75% higher than $57,988 a year earlier. But April dipped compared with March and its record price of $101,716.



“Knowing when we are going to see a more meaningful price drop is a really tough challenge. But we are on our way down,” ACT Research Vice President Steve Tam said.

ACT Vice President Steve Tam

Tam

The super-heated used truck market broke out in July 2020. The only other month-over-month price drop since was an “anomaly” in January 2021, he said.

The average price for highly sought after 3-year-old Class 8 models hit $151,811 compared with $90,874 a year earlier — and was essentially flat with March’s $151,111, which was flat with February’s $151,850.

Used Class 8 sales in April essentially were level at 22,100 compared with 21,700 in the 2021 period, according to ACT, and lower compared with 25,200 in March.

Clearly, the inflationary pressures that are in the economy are having a detrimental impact on consumer spending, he said.

“Even with the propensity of consumers to spend more than they make, if things cost more that means fewer things are going to get shipped, which is slowing freight,” Tam said. “That is the story on the freight market. It’s slowing a little bit more quickly than most people anticipated. We are just at that inflection point from an equipment perspective.”

Now and Then

Average mileage on a Class 8 sold in April 2022: 441,000

Average Mileage on a Class 8 sold in April 2021: 416,000

Average age in April 2022: 6 years, 7 months

Average age in April 2021: 6 years, 2 months

Source: ACT Research

Each month, ACT surveys a sample of dealers, wholesalers and auctioneers as well as a few large fleets to determine average prices, age and mileage, and estimated industry volumes.

Meanwhile, Daimler Truck North America announced the launch of a broad company initiative to fight what it termed the pervasive theft of common powertrain controller (CPC4) modules from its vehicles — including used trucks awaiting resale.

Trucks cannot operate without a CPC to control various engine and powertrain functions, and experts said they should be password-protected.

Reported thefts of CPC4 modules from parked trucks have been on the rise, DTNA found, with thieves seeking reprogramming and re-installation on other trucks. In one theft in April, modules were reported stolen from 24 trucks waiting to be sold at an auction yard in Pennsylvania. A large number of other thefts have occurred at dealerships and customer terminals.

RoadSigns

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“This is not surprising, given the serious shortage of parts, ECUs, and other computer chip-related components,” Technology & Maintenance Council Executive Director Robert Braswell told Transport Topics.

TMC is a division of American Trucking Associations.

DTNA asked all customers and dealers to report stolen CPCs to local law enforcement and DTNA at 1-800-FTL-HELP.

Auction firm Ritchie Bros. currently has about 60 permanent auction sites and satellite yards. A company spokesman said it is not seeing theft issues outside of the ranges “you might see given the volume of equipment we handle annually.”

Rush Enterprises, a nationwide dealership, reported used trucks sales in the first quarter climbed 24.5% to 2,395 units compared with 1,924 a year earlier. That generated $187.5 million in revenue compared with $88.3 million in the 2021 period.

Rusty Rush

Rush

“Used truck demand remains strong. The values began to retract slightly from the historic high levels we experienced in 2021,” Chairman and CEO W.M. “Rusty” Rush said during the earnings call.

Prices could continue to move slightly lower over the year, he added.

Historically, high spot rates are a key reason new owner-operators enter the business — with a recently bought used truck.

Recent data from Truckstop.com and industry analysts at FTR showed the annual three-day inspection event International Roadcheck did what it always does, which is drive up spot volumes and rates.

It was conducted May 17-19.

Flatbed rates surged to an all-time high, after running at near-record levels, and the van segments reversed — at least for one week — their steady slide, according to the companies.

In related news, Navistar Inc. opened a new used truck center in Joliet, Ill., with a calibration engineering center and eight service bays (at a nearby Rush Truck Center dealership).

“Chicago metropolitan freight traffic is anticipated to double in the next 20 years, setting us up for a future of success in the area,” said Tony Stinsa, Navistar vice president of used trucks, Navistar is a unit of Germany-based Traton SE.

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