The sale of used heavy duty (class 8) trucks in North America continues to fall. ACT Research reports that both prices and volume declined significantly in the month of November, compared to the same period in 2018. Average price dropped 15 percent—from $47, 371 to $40,320—while volume fell by 20 percent—from 23,000 units to 18,400.
ACT’s numbers are based on information provided by dealers, wholesalers, auctioneers, and some large truck fleets.
ACT Vice President Steve Tam told Transport Topics that surplus manufacturing is mostly to blame for the drop-off.
“We have too many trucks sitting in inventory, and it’s really put the hurt on prices,” he said.
Chris Visser, commercial truck senior analyst at J.D. Power Valuation Services, echoed Tam’s assessment, saying, “We have a very high number of trucks. We deal with this every eight to 10 years.”
According to Visser, other contributing factors include tariffs on foreign imports imposed by US President Donald Trump, a decrease in investment and a generally decelerating freight market.
Interestingly, while the average truck age has gone up (from 6 years, 9 months to 7 years, 1 month), average mileage has gone down by 4 percent, from 451,000 to 433,000 (725,814 km to 696,845 km).
Bennett Whitnell, an analyst at KEA Advisors of Lawrence, Kansas, said he expects the current trend to continue until dealers unload their older trucks, the number of which has increased considerably over the last month.
“That means an already saturated infrastructure is going to become even more saturated,” he told Transport Topics. “Our sense is that a high-volume auction month is going to mix very unfavorably with saturated lots and continue to drag the market down, with day cabs and sleepers hit particularly hard.”
“As long as dealer lots remain as full as they are, the appetite to pick up inventory at the block will remain low, and prices will continue to be challenged.”