Used Class 3-8 commercial vehicle registrations fell 26.7% from the same period last year, to 164,024 units, according to a recent Polk report.

"While used vehicle registrations remain strong, the long-awaited decline in used commercial vehicle registrations as seen in the past two quarters may indicate that a shortage of good, clean available units could finally be upon us," says Gary Meteer, account director for commercial vehicle solutions at Polk.

During 2011, a record 791,288 used commercial vehicle registrations were reported, representing a 17.7% increase from the number reported during the year before. "With the first quarter complete, it is hard to believe that the total number of used registrations during 2012 will meet or beat the record levels seen in 2011," Meteer says.

During the quarter, used commercial vehicles represented 55.9% of total commercial vehicle transactions in the market, compared to 70% during the first quarter of the 2011 calendar year. Together with 129,755 new registrations of Class 3-8 vehicles over the same time period, total commercial vehicle transactions during the first quarter of 2012 were down 10% from the same quarter last year.

Used registrations for each of the Class categories during the first quarter of the 2012 calendar year were lower than the levels achieved during the same quarter in the 2011 calendar year, ranging from a drop of 18.6% for Class 3 vehicles to a fall of 46.4% for Class 7 vehicles.

"One of the most frequently watched and analyzed activities in the commercial vehicle market is the number of used registrations for GVW 8 vehicles," Meteer says. "The used registrations of GVW 8 vehicles were down 27.6% from the level achieved during the first quarter of the 2011 calendar year."

Class 8 used vehicle registrations during the first quarter this year accounted for 39.8% of total used transactions compared to 38.6% last year and 47.6% and 41.2% respectively for the 2010 and 2009 calendar years.

"The Polk analysis does not indicate a lack of confidence in the used commercial truck market, but it does indicate that the continued growth experienced since the 2008 calendar year will in all likelihood not continue during the 2012 calendar year," Meteer says.