The end of 2013 saw a drop in demand for used commercial trucks, along with lower asking prices on lots but higher prices paid at auctions for medium-duty, says the Truck Blue Book’s monthly report for December.
The softening follows a strong November and October, but should not suggest a general market dampening into 2014, the report said, because buyers “will be in a New Year with new budgets.”
“Focusing on commercial trucks between model years 2004- 2013 in the U.S. with less than 1 million miles, the average auction prices decreased for heavy duty, but increased for medium duty trucks,” it said. “The decrease in prices was primarily caused by the large decreases both asking and auction prices saw on heavy duty trucks, the primary driver of price fluctuation.”
Trends varied substantially by model-year and region. Higher prices were gotten for 2012 and 2013 models, but interest in 2004s, with their EGR but pre-DPF diesels, is waning as those models age.
“The largest decrease was for the 2008 MY at 12%, which is much larger than the 2% decrease these trucks saw in November. The 5% increase the 2006 models saw in November has been followed by a 7% decrease,” the report said.
“2004 MYs were on a rising trend for the beginning of Q4, but in December this changed as they were the second to highest decline among the model years. Most changes were between 4% and 9%, but the 2013 MY has the smallest change at 0.1%.”
Regional changes showed at least one flip-flop, the report said.
“The Southeast continued to have the highest average auction prices throughout Q4 as the Northeast saw a 26% decrease falling out of the top position. During Q3, the Southwest held the lowest auction prices, but with the 32% increase in Q4 the West is now the lowest priced region.
“The large increase in prices for the Southwest is a result from the largest volume decrease among all five regions. Every region saw a decrease in volume, with the exception of the Northeast seeing only a slight increase. The NE having the only increase in volume resulted in the large price fall that occurred during Q4.
“The large drop in auction volume did not impact prices as drastically as would normally occur due to the timing,” the Truck Blue Book report said. "As the year was closing, significantly fewer trucks are trying to be sold holding off until the New Year.
"Even though the supply was low, the demand was not high enough to counteract the volume decrease by increasing prices.”
Brand volumes and values did some changing as well.
“As predicted, Peterbilt volume dropped significantly in December causing them to be replaced by Mack within the top five this month. Kenworth no longer holds the highest asking prices as Volvo soars past with a 12% increase giving them the highest asking prices this month and 17% higher than the top five average. This is a change from the trends throughout the remainder of Q4.
“The last few months showed Peterbilt with the smallest change, but during November Kenworth held that position. Now in December, Freightliner had the smallest change at only 0.3% with Mack following behind at 0.6%.
“The largest price decrease among the top five manufacturers was for Kenworth at 16% (much different from the 0.5% increase in November). Volume is down for 4 of the 5 manufacturers with Mack as the exception.
“Last month Volvo saw the only decrease in volume and this trend continued with a significant drop in December,” the report said.
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