After an anomalous sequential gain in October, used Class 8 same dealer sales volumes returned to trend in November, falling 35% month-to-month, according to the latest release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks, published by ACT Research.
Longer term, the firm’s analysts report, sales were down 9% year-to-year and 16% year-to-date compared to the first 11 months of 2018. The report also indicated used Class 8 average miles decreased month-to-month, down 5%, and were up a mere 1% year-to-date, while average age rose 3% compared to October and 5% on a year-to-date basis. Average price also grew 5% month-to-month, while flat over the year to date.
“Dealers are reporting used truck sales are lagging, inventory is building, prices are falling, and the used truck market remains a buyer’s market,” said Steve Tam, Vice President at ACT Research. He continued, “While all of this is not welcome news for finance companies, truckers trading trucks, truck OEMs or dealers, it is good news for people who are buying trucks. Customers are finding that there are bargains available for all makes and models of used trucks, and there are some fantastic buys.”
The report from ACT provides data on the average selling price, miles, and age based on a sample of industry data. In addition, the report provides the average selling price for top-selling Class 8 models for each of the major truck OEMs – Freightliner (Daimler); Kenworth and Peterbilt (Paccar); International (Navistar); and Volvo and Mack (Volvo). This report is utilized by those throughout the industry, including commercial vehicle dealers, to gain a better understanding of the used truck market, especially as it relates to changes in near-term performance.
The numbers jibe with reporting from the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Its advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 3.5% in November after falling 0.7% in October. In November, the index equaled 113.5 (2015=100) compared with 117.6 in October.
“It’s tough to sugar coat November’s reading,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “It was the third decrease in the last four months and the index is down 7.2% since July. Additionally, November was the first month to see a year-over-year drop in the index since April 2017. While disappointing, it fits with the expected soft gross domestic product reading expected in the fourth quarter and reports of a soft fall freight season.”
It is important to note that ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by contract freight.
Compared with November 2018, the SA index fell 2.1%, the first year-over-year decline since April 2017 and the largest drop since February of that year. The index is up 3.3% year-to-date compared with the same period last year.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 115 in November, 7.9% below the October level (124.8). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.