Soaring Demand for Trucks Caused Unprecedented Price Acceleration in 2021

Soaring demand for truck tractors and other transportation assets caused unprecedented price acceleration in the sector in 2021, according to Ritchie Bros. With its February 2022 Market Trends Report, Ritchie Bros. looked closely at used truck and trailer sales last year, with charts outlining volumes, median pricing and more by asset category.

Mitigating factors, such as port congestion, COVID-19-related reduced workforce capacity and continued driver shortages, have hampered the industry’s ability to transport goods, while manufacturers have faced headwinds producing trucks and meeting demand. For example, the volume of truck tractors (tandem axle) sold in 2021 dropped by 37% from 2020 levels, falling from more than 17,800 to more than 11,100 trucks.

The February 2022 Market Trends Report highlights sales of truck tractors, van trailers, pickups, van trucks, flatbed trucks, mechanic trucks, water trucks, dump trucks, lowboy trailers, step-deck trailers and heavy haul trucks.

“We attracted a record number of bidders in 2021, resulting in the strongest pricing we have ever seen,” Doug Olive, senior vice president of pricing at Ritchie Bros., said. “Truck tractor pricing at the end of the year was up 65% year over year, while vocational trucks were up 44% in the U.S. It’s a seller’s market and consignors around the world are taking advantage by turning their surplus trucks and trailers into cash.”

“In mid to late 2020, used equipment pricing started to increase, and since then, we’ve seen a steady uptick in values month in and month out,” Doug Rusch, managing director of Rouse Sales, said. “Since January 2019, auction values for used truck tractors are up [77%] and vocational trucks up [27%]. The retail channel has also shown improvement for truck tractors, up [38%] since January 2019.”

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