Used Class 8 Retail Sales Volumes Decrease to Open 2022; Prices Continue to Increase

Used Class 8 retail volumes (same dealer sales) were 15% lower month over month in January, according to ACT Research’s latest release of its State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks report. Longer term, volumes were down 37% year over year, while average prices were 7% higher compared with December and 83% more expensive than in January of 2021. Average miles rose 2% month over month and 4% year over year, while average age was flat compared with December but up 6% compared with January of 2021.

“Used Class 8 same dealer retail sales volumes dwindled further in January. The sequential drop was the fifth straight decline, while sales have been weaker for the past seven months,” Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research, said. “It is worth noting that sales typically fall in January and the magnitude of the drop aligned with expectations. Interestingly, the slowing in the secondary market belies recent developments in the new truck market.”

Looking at the different sales channels for used Class 8 vehicles, Tam said, “Near-term channel results moved in the same direction but to widely varying degrees, with auction sales falling 86% [month over month], while wholesale activity slipped just 10%. All three markets also experienced lower volumes compared to January 2021.

“We believe that the industry will make progress clearing some of the supply chain hurdles, allowing for moderate improvements in new truck production. The higher output should help increase the flow of equipment into the secondary market, helping to boost sales volume and alleviate some of the rampant price appreciation the market experienced in 2020 and 2021.

“Used truck prices will continue to benefit from strong demand and tight supply, though growth rates are likely to decline meaningfully as freight hauling capacity rebalances, and it is important to note that prices will be retreating from record highs and are not expected to collapse, but rather revert in an orderly manner toward the mean.”

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