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ACT Research: Used Class 8 Truck Sales Retreats in February

March 30, 2023, 07:08 AM
Filed Under: Trucking

According to the latest State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks, published by ACT Research, used Class 8 retail volumes (same dealer sales) were 8 percent lower month over month in February. Average mileage was unchanged, with average price and age both down, 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively. Longer term, average price, age and volumes were lower, with miles higher year over year.

“Following two months of gains, same dealer Class 8 retail truck sales retreated into negative territory in February, down 8 percent from January,” said Steve Tam, Vice President at ACT Research. “Sales typically see a moderate decrease (~4 percent) in February, so the drop was directionally consistent with seasonality, though a bit steeper than expected. It is no secret that ‘normal’ has been anything but in this cycle, so given the relatively small variance, it is tough to get too excited.”

He added, “Looking ahead to what we can expect for March, history suggests sales typically increase 15-20 percent from February. While inventory has ticked up and new truck activity could support that much of an increase in used truck sales, the economy and freight are still on the soft side. The challenge is figuring out how much pent-up demand exists in the used truck market.”

Tam concluded, “Concerns remain regarding how owner/operators and small fleets will fair in 2023, particularly as freight rates fall and operating costs rise. While the economy may avoid a recession, inflation remains a very real concern. And all of this says nothing about what fleets’ equity position in their equipment looks like. Those that bought at the top of the market are likely underwater or headed there. With that in mind, we expect, the market to fall as much as 10 percent.”

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