Used truck values and demand on the rise

The rebound in Class 8 used truck sales continued in August. Prices and sales rose with fleets desiring newer trucks with better fuel economy and safety equipment.

J.D. Power Valuation Services reported a third consecutive month of improving retail sales in August.

“Since mid-June, we’ve seen an increase in selling prices for the lowest-mileage iron,” said Chris Visser, J.D. Power Valuation Services commercial vehicles senior analyst and product manager.

Power said the average sleeper tractor sold at retail in August was 68 months old, had 460,476 miles and brought $42,090. The same age sleeper in July had 9,727 (2.1%) fewer miles. It brought $2,408 (6.1%) more money. 

Compared to August 2019, this average sleeper was two months newer, had 17,981 (4.1%) more miles and brought $12,600 (23.0%) less money.

“In a typical used truck market recovery, pricing eventually increases for average mileage trucks as well, as the supply/demand relationship continues to move positive,” Visser said. “This time around, the next few months will be anything but typical, so consider us cautiously optimistic at this point.”

The ACT perspective

Preliminary used Class 8 volumes were flat month over month in August, ACT Research reported. But they were up 46% compared to August 2019. And they rose 21% higher when measured against the first eight months of last year.

“The good news is that even if prices remain where they are now, they will continue to make improvements relative to last year, becoming less negative as comparisons become easier,” ACT vice president Steve Tam said.

“One of the things that’s helping pricing is that we continue to see better and better quality trucks making their way into the secondary market,” he said.

Big gains at Navistar

Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV) said its third fiscal quarter retail used truck sales were 60% higher than the February-April fiscal second quarter. Wholesale trades for the Lisle, Illinois-based truck maker fell 16%, keeping a lid on prices.

“We can see that there is now some stabilizing pricing on used trucks,” Navistar CEO Persio Lisboa said on the company’s Sept. 9 earnings call. “We are not seeing further declines. And we have reasons to believe that the retail activity growth is an early indicator that we will start seeing some opportunities of pricing going up as well.

“We are seeing some reduction in inventory,” Lisboa said. “But that’s as the big carriers get back in the market and place their trades and new purchases that they are executing.”

Related articles:

Used truck sales continue climb from abyss

Auction volumes soar for used trucks

Ryder sees a steep drop coming in the value of used trucks

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.