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February 25, 2021 2:45 PM, EST

January Sales Indicate Used Truck Market Is Poised to Grow

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The average used Class 8 vehicle in January had higher mileage and sold for a little less than a year earlier, ACT Research reported, calling it an inkling of all the freight there was to haul in the second half of 2020.

Year-over-year demand remained strong in January as sales reached 20,700 compared with 18,000 a year earlier, according to ACT. “That was a decent volume but nothing to write home about,” said ACT Vice President Steve Tam. “I think the year will see that volume pick up a bit.”

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

ACT forecast used Class 8 sales will be 265,000 this year, or 6% higher compared with 2020 that ended with 250,000 sales.

“And we could do even better if our new truck friends stub their toe, I guess,” on production snags from stressed supply chains, Tam said.

“The new truck folks can’t buy as much as they want to, so the flow of trucks coming from new truck buyers hasn’t stopped, it’s just slowed down a little,” he added.

ACT has a 300,000-unit Class 8 retail sales forecast for North America this year, with 250,000 of the sales in the U.S.

The average price of a used Class 8 sold in January fell by about $700 to $47,689 compared with $48,391 in the 2019 period, according to ACT.

Average mileage increased to 426,000 compared with 421,00 a year earlier, and was up from 411,000 in December.

Average age dipped to 6 years, 5 months, from 6 years, 6 months in the 2019 period.

In related news, Ryder System announced it will purchase fleets’ used commercial vehicles in a one-for-one leasing exchange.

This program is intended to give businesses that own truck fleets the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of leasing with Ryder, including comprehensive preventive maintenance and 24/7 roadside assistance. In addition, the leasing program allows quick access to rental trucks at preferred rates and offers vehicle licensing, permits, tax reporting and regulatory compliance.

Vehicles sold to Ryder through the fleet buyback program do not need to be the same type of vehicle that are then leased from Ryder, so companies can shift their fleet mix, selling and then leasing anything from vans, box trucks or tractors. No matter the fleet’s age, make or condition, all vehicles and trailers are eligible to be considered in this program, according to the Miami-based company.

Through its buyback program, businesses will be able to eliminate high commissions, reduce time when selling, and avoid shipping used vehicles to auction, Ryder noted. The trucks taken in trade will be sold through Ryder’s used vehicle sales group, and unless prohibited, they would be available for export just like any of its vehicles, a company spokesman said.

Ryder operates 60 used truck centers that sell more than 20,000 vehicles per year in North America.

Ryder Supply Chain Solutions ranks No. 10 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

Another rental and leasing company is expanding its used truck sales program as well.

To keep up with increasing demand, Aim Transportation Solutions’ used truck department will now find and purchase equipment from reputable outside sources in addition to continuing to offer its own vehicles for resale.

“Not all companies or individuals are at the right spot in their business life cycle for a full-service lease or dedicated contract carriage agreement with Aim, but they can still benefit from Aim’s industry high maintenance standards by purchasing a previously owned vehicle that was maintained and revitalized by Aim,” said Aim Co-President Scott Fleming.

As a commercial truck leasing and rental company, Aim, founded in 1962, has had a foothold in the used truck market for decades.

“We have an excellent network out there to bring the [additional] trucks in and get them turned around,” said Eric Samp, Aim’s director of used trucks.

Girard, Ohio-based Aim Transportation Solutions described itself as the largest privately held truck leasing company in North America, and is an affiliate of the NationaLease network.

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Meanwhile, “there’s no more cookie-cutter approach to the secondary market,” said Darry Stuart, principal at DWS Fleet Management, a limited-time-executive transportation and fleet management business based in Wrentham, Mass.

Some buyers still shy away from used trucks with recent emissions controls, he said, not knowing much about them and fearing expensive repairs.

“They are either buying pre-emissions-control trucks or putting money into their older trucks to try and keep them running as long as they can,” he said. “Eventually, it’s going to catch up and they are going to have no choice.”

On the other hand, one mail hauler he knows buys nothing but used trucks, 100 at a time, Stuart said. “With that volume, they have no choice but to buy trucks with emissions controls.”

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