ACT Research: Used Class 8 Sales Volumes Increase M/M for First Time in 6 Months

According to the latest release of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks report, used Class 8 volumes (same dealer sales) were 1% higher month over month in September. Longer term, volumes were down 23% year over year but up 3% year to date. Average prices were 5% higher compared with August, 57% more expensive than in September of 2020 and 36% greater year to date. Average miles were 2% greater month over month and year over year, while average age was down 3% from August but up 5% compared with September of 2020.

“Used Class 8 same dealer sales volumes reversed course in September, posting their first sequential gain in six months. Ironically, especially in light of tight supply, sales in September typically slow a few percentage points from August,” Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research, said. “Seasonality suggests a wild ride for the rest of the year. Typically, October is the strongest sales month of the year, followed by the second weakest sales month of the year in November, with December ending the year roughly 4% above average.”

Looking at the different sales channels for used Class 8 vehicles, Tam said, “Near-term channel results ran the gambit during the month, with the auction market driving the overall gain, flat retail activity and wholesale sales lagging. All three outlets saw lower volumes compared to September 2020. Through the first nine months of the year, only the retail segment has improved.

“Input from dealers over the last month returns us to some of the basic fundamentals in the used truck market. When trucks are plentiful, potential buyers have the luxury of shopping for the truck that most closely meets their exact requirements. Conversely, when scarcity reigns, buyers are often left with limited, or perhaps no, choice. If one needs a truck and only one truck is available, as long as it can do the job, it’s sold, and the decision is independent of the price. And there is another dynamic that often comes into play when the market is strong: the decision by sellers to eliminate the middle man and remarket their equipment themselves. We are certainly seeing evidence of this in the current cycle.”

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