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Retail sleeper market sets record for 2nd month in row

The steep drop in wholesale pricing that started in December 2012 turned around a bit in April, thanks to a slightly newer, lower-mileage mix of trucks sold

The Trucker News Services

6/11/2013

McLEAN, Va. — With an increasing number of newer model year tractors entering the market combined with continued strong demand for sub-600,000 mile trucks as catalysts, the overall value of the retail sleeper tractor market set a new record in April for the second month in a row, according to the NADA Commercial Vehicle Market Update.

The steep drop in wholesale pricing that started in December 2012 turned around a bit in April, thanks to a slightly newer, lower-mileage mix of trucks sold, the report said.

“We continue to view the auction channel generally as a market for trucks with over 600,000 miles,” Chris Visser, senior analyst and product manager, ATD/NADA Official Commercial Truck Guide, said.

A competitive pricing comparison reveals the relative value the marketplace assigns specific makes and models, he said.

“Retail sales volume has not changed appreciably,” Visser said, “while wholesale volume continues to trend notably upwards. The domestic economy continues to shrug off the effects of sequestration and budgetary dysfunction. We forecast status quo for the remainder of the year.”

The report said retail sales data submitted by dealers and OEM’s to NADA shows that the average price paid for a sleeper tractor in April was $51,391, the second month in a row to set a 5-plus year record high.

“This result is $599 (or 1.2 percent) higher than March’s figure, and $1,694 (or 3.3 percent) higher than last April,” Visser said.

Mileage was slightly higher than last March at 529,183.

“This figure is 4,483 (or 0.8 percent) higher than in March, but 18,091 (or 3.3 percent) lower than last April,” Visser said. “After a high point of 557,364 in July 2012, average mileage has been trending downwards.”

As for age, April’s average was 78 months.

“This figure is right in line with recent months – one month older than March, and four months older than last April,” Visser said. “Age was therefore not a factor in April’s record pricing.”

The last two months in particular have seen a notable decrease in mileage mix, mainly because of an increasing number of 2009 and 2010 model year trucks entering the marketplace. These trucks are now 4-5 years old, the age at which fleets typically trade

them in.

“This factor likely explains their increased availability,” Visser said. “Pricing has remained strong for these model years, indicating that demand continues to outweigh supply.”

April’s wholesale data depicted a break from the relentless trend of cheaper, older, higher-mileage trucks seen in recent months, Visser said.

Specifically, he said the average sleeper tractor in the wholesale market in April sold for $29,389, had mileage of 686,308, and was 86 months old.

Compared to last month, April’s results were $5,658 (or 19.3 percent) higher on price, $56,977 (or 7.7 percent) lower on mileage, and seven months (or 7.5 percent) younger.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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