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Used Truck Prices Drop For First Time Since January 2018

FreightWaves

The final average price of total used Class 8 trucks in August fell 1 percent year over year, the first price decline since January 2018, according to ACT Research. 

For the year to date, prices are up 7 percent. 

Overall, used truck sales were down 19 percent through August this year compared with the first eight months of 2018, according to ACT's latest release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks. 

"Dealers are reporting that used truck sales are not in the tank, but the prices for trucks have fallen and inventories are growing," said Steve Tam, ACT vice president. "This is not unexpected as sales of new trucks have been barreling along leading to many trade trucks coming to dealers." 

The flow of used trucks slowed in the early part of the year as manufacturers worked overtime to reduce an industry backlog created by record new equipment orders in 2018. That prompted many fleets to hold onto trucks they planned to trade. With retail deliveries humming and the backlog falling, used trucks are piling up.

"We've seen some weakness in used trucks, in particular the sleeper market. So, we've made some small adjustments to our the prices of the units in our used truck portfolio," Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV) Chief Financial Officer Walter Borst said during a Sept. 4 earnings call with analysts.

Sellers were used to getting higher prices than normal for used models in the last two years as fleets retained older equipment while awaiting the production of new trucks,

"With lower truck values and growing inventories, many dealers have become much more conservative about what they will pay for trade-ins," Tam said. 

In the first eight months of 2019, 4-to-6-year-old examples of J.D. Power Valuation Services benchmark model brought 6.8% less money than in the same period of 2018, said Chris Visser, Commercial Vehicles senior analyst and product manager.  

The mileage on used truck odometers rose 2 percent compared with July but was down 1 percent for the year to date. The average age of used trucks rose 1 percent over July and 4 percent year to date.

The ACT report tracks the average selling price for top-selling Class 8 models from Freightliner (Daimler Trucks North America); Kenworth and Peterbilt [Paccar Inc (NASDAQ: PCAR)]; International (Navistar); and Volvo and Mack (Volvo Trucks North America).

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