J.D. Power publishes the NADA Used Car Guide, which includes commercial trucks.

J.D. Power publishes the NADA Used Car Guide, which includes commercial trucks. 

Large supplies of used commercial trucks contributed to wholesale depreciation that was considerably greater than retail depreciation in 2016, according to analysts at J.D. Power Valuation Services.  Compared to 2015, trucks brought 30% less at auction and 13% less at retail.

Sleeper tractors lost about 30 percent of value at auction last year, says Power’s monthly Guidelines report. Medium-duty trucks were relatively strong in 2016, with both low-cab-forwards and conventionals outperforming heavier conventionals.  

Sleeper-cab tractors

In December of 2016, auction volume of Power’s benchmark group of sleeper tractors finished out similar to November, with a large volume of 2011 Cascadias sold through one auction company balanced out by lower volume of other models. Specific auction performance of the benchmark model was:

  • MY2013: $30,992 average; $6,508 (or 17.4%) lower than November
  • MY2012: $27,768 average; $3,340 (13.7%) higher than November
  • MY2011: $24,966 average; $1,348 (5.7%) higher than November

Depreciation generally accelerated in the second half of 2016. From January to December, trucks of model year 2013 lost about 22% of their value, trucks of model year 2012 lost about 37%, and trucks of model year 2011 lost about 32%. These figures translate to an overall monthly loss of about 2.5%, compared to Power’s early estimate of 3%, the report said.

Few changes in Q1 and Q2

Few changes in the market the first half of 2017 are expected. Returning supply remains substantial, and economic changes won't take effect until later in the year, said Chris Visser, senior commercial truck analyst at Power. 

"Based on deliveries of new trucks over the past five years, we expect an increase in returning supply of trucks in 2017,” he said. “It is likely that OEMs are already stockpiling some quantity of these trucks, keeping them out of the marketplace until conditions potentially change.

"General economic conditions should continue to gradually improve in the first two quarters of 2017,” Visser continued. “After that, drastic changes the new administration plans in the trade and manufacturing sectors should start to create a different landscape…an increase in import tariffs looks very likely, and a shift towards domestic manufacturing should be a longer-term trend.

“Both of these factors will make raw materials, finished goods, and the cost of production more expensive, limiting expansion. On the other hand, increased domestic manufacturing will improve demand for deliveries of materials, which benefits the trucking industry."