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ACT Research: Used Truck Prices Making, Breaking Records

September 20, 2021, 07:00 AM
Filed Under: Trucking

Preliminary used Class 8 volumes (same dealer sales) dropped 5 percent month-over-month and 24 percent year over year in August. Through the first eight months of the year, activity is 8 percent higher compared to the same period a year ago, according to the latest preliminary release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks published by ACT Research.

Other data released in ACT’s preliminary report included month-over-month comparisons for August 2021, which showed that average prices rose 7 percent, as average miles were flat and age rose 5 percent, compared to July. Compared to August of 2020, average price was 47 percent higher, with average miles and age each up, 3 percent and 11 percent, respectively. On a year-to-date basis, average price is 33 percent above its year-ago level for the first eight months of 2020, with average miles down 1 percent and age flat on a year-to-date basis.

According to Steve Tam, Vice President at ACT Research, “Preliminary same dealer sales descended further in August. In a normal market, sales would typically have increased in August, but this market is anything but typical. In the context of what can only be described as a stellar economic recovery, demand for seemingly everything, including commercial vehicles, is off the charts. However, sating that demand is proving to be an insurmountable challenge.”

Regarding used truck prices, Tam added, “As is usually the case when demand is strong and supply is weak, competition heats up and prices become the battleground. Following a brief respite in July, used truck price appreciation returned with a vengeance in August. Many, especially those who feared the market may have peaked in July, are relieved that price growth resumed in August. We hold fast to our outlook that pricing will most likely peak around mid-year 2022, based on current supply and demand dynamics.”

About an end to the upward trend of used truck prices, Tam commented, “With considerably fewer options for both new and used equipment, the behavior drives up truck prices. This has the unintended consequence of attracting new operators/trucking companies, sending demand for units even higher, which ultimately means truck prices are likely headed even higher. Eventually, the cycle will balance itself; the key question is when.”

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