October Used Class 8 Sales Up 7% Year-Over-Year
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Used Class 8 truck sales in October increased 7% year-over-year to 21,500 units from 20,100 units, ACT Research reported.
The average retail sale price for a used truck fell 25% to $62,935 from $83,939 a year ago, and declined 1% month-over-month from $63,567 in September. The average retail mileage for a used truck declined 7% to 413,000 from 444,000 last year, while remaining about the same from the previous month. Sales increased 4.9% month-to-month from 20,500 units in September.
“The past three months’ less-than-expected declines present mounting evidence of pricing stability,” said ACT Research Vice President Steve Tam. “We expect lower prices through the end of 2023, with a return to month-over-month growth toward the end of 2024.”
Tam anticipates downward pressure on pricing will continue until the economy can strike a balance between the supply of trucks and available freight. He expects the freight rate environment will correct once that excess truck capacity is absorbed.
ACT Research Vice President Steve Tam (ACT Research)
“October was good, which it almost always is,” said Trey Golden, vice president of used truck sales at Rush Enterprises. “Obviously, any good month when it’s been such a crummy year is reason for optimism. But like I said, October is typically good. So, I wouldn’t take that one data point and say that we’re looking at a reverse in trend.”
Golden has seen speculation on whether the used truck market has bottomed out and whether pricing has found its footing. But he points out that while October tends to be a strong month, the following four months are usually the worst for used trucks nationwide.
“I feel pretty good about November, even with a somewhat low expectation of it,” Golden said. “Interest level is always solid in November and December. The problem you run into in those two months is working days and then just getting both customers and employees fully engaged during the holidays at the end of those two months.
“But there’s usually business. And I feel that now, but it doesn’t necessarily translate into hard closings and bookings.”
Commercial Truck Trader, an online marketplace for new and used commercial vehicles, tracks buyer interest by monitoring how actively they view listing specifics. The company found buyer interest for used sleepers trended lower for the month, but day cab interest for new and used trucks continued to remain strong.
“An observation from early November data is that we’re seeing the trend continue for sleepers,” said Charles Bowles, director of strategic initiatives at Commercial Truck Trader. “What’s interesting is we’re also seeing a downtick in day cab interest, just before the Thanksgiving holiday week. I’ll be watching it closely for the rest of the month to see if those trends continue.”
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Thanksgiving and how many working days are left in the month can be critical in determining used sales. Golden noted that when timing is tight it becomes difficult to close out the month strong. A lot of that business rolls over into December. But he feels the timing this year is more favorable for a strong month since there were four working days left to close out.
“It does feel like we are in a bottoming-out process, and it feels a little better than it did in the summer when we were just really struggling,” Golden said. “Our business is pretty decent right now, and we have a handle on it. But I do feel like there’s still a lot of inventory yet to work through the system nationwide.
“There’s still a lot of pent-up demand for new trucks, and those fleets have had their old trucks longer than they wanted to have them. So, we’re seeing a lot of stuff with higher mileage than we’re used to having.”
Golden has seen older-than-usual trade-in recently as carriers receive new trucks later than expected. The trend also has shown up for leasing companies with a lot of the extended leases getting turned in. He expects that older and higher mileage trucks aren’t going to be making much money with so many entering the market.
For me, buyer intent is substantially amplified when someone views a specific truck that they chose from a group of listings.
Charles Bowles, director of strategic initiatives for Commercial Truck Trader
“For me, buyer intent is substantially amplified when someone views a specific truck that they chose from a group of listings,” Bowles said. “That additional step pushes that buyer further down the sales funnel. And, we see a general correlation between vehicle detail page views and enhanced buyer interest [e.g., leads, clicks to a dealer’s website]. So, when there is a significant change in VDPs, we can use that as a harbinger of buying activity for the upcoming months.”
J.D. Power noted in a report that older and higher mileage trucks continued to depreciate heavily in October. The report found trucks newer than 5 years old depreciated less than last month, but on average the late-model segment continued to lose value during the month. Those trucks aged from 4 to 6 years brought in 37.5% less money than October 2022.
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