Used Class 8 Truck Retail Sales Fell 23% in April, Suggesting Softening Demand

According to the latest State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks report from ACT Research, used Class 8 retail volumes (same dealer sales) declined 23% month over month in April, while average mileage declined by 1%, with average prices down 8% and age up 3%. Longer term, average volumes, prices and miles were lower, with age flat year-over-year.

“Same dealer Class 8 retail truck sales slowed in April, pulling back 23% from March. While sales normally decelerate in April, the decrease was greater than the expected 8-10%,” Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research, said. “With inventory on the rise, and more importantly, not a limiting factor for sales, the logical conclusion is that demand is softening. This is a plausible explanation, especially given waning economic and freight conditions.

“Examining each of the channels individually will shed light on how other indicators are faring. Near-term channel results reveal the usual pullback from the quarter-end spike in auction volumes. After spiking 93% month over month in March, auction activity shrank 45% month over month in April. Wholesale transactions improved, jumping 72% month over month. Combined, the total market fell 28% month over month in April.

“As the year progresses, the year-to-date scenario also continues to diverge from last year. The overall market extended its lead to 5% year to date. Despite the early lead, we believe that truckers’ appetites for used equipment will be curbed as freight volumes continue to contract. Our best estimate suggests that inventory continues to increase, supporting buyers working to refresh their used truck fleets.”

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