COLUMBUS, Ind. — Rise. That’s the appropriate word when it comes to Class 8 used truck volumes and trailer orders.
ACT Research reports that used Class 8 truck same dealer sales volumes improved for the third consecutive month and on a year-over-year basis sales volumes were up 1 percent.
Meanwhile, ACT said trailer orders show a strong month with 30,000 net orders.
ACT said its monthly data indicated that the average price of total used Class 8 trucks rose 3 percent year-over-year, while average mileage was up 1 percent year-over-year and the average age of used Class 8 trucks dropped 4 percent compared to the same time in 2017.
“Dealers are reporting that used trucks are selling much better than they were six months or a year ago,” said Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research. “Finance companies are also reporting stronger used truck sales. Late model used aero dynamic sleepers are starting to sell better, which is good news to dealers, but despite this, there are still more of those units in inventory than there are buyers for them.”
Individual market segments yielded mixed results in March.
“Retail and auction segments reported solid improvements, with volumes up 4 percent and 11 percent year-over-year, respectively,” Tam said. “The wholesale market, however, fell 8 percent from March 2017, as wholesalers are struggling to find units to sell. Looking forward, we expect volumes to lose some steam as spring progresses and for full-year sales to remain at or slightly above 2017 levels.”
The 30,000 trailer order total preliminary estimate was 1,000 more than the preliminary figure released earlier this month.
“Although off 11 percent versus a very strong February, volume was up 39 percent year-over-year,” said Frank Maly, director of commercial motor vehicle transportation analysis and research. “Strong freight demand and tight capacity continue to encourage fleets to invest in equipment, and the positive impact of freight rates on their bottom lines provide them the means to commit. And don’t forget, the recent tax cuts contribute to this equation.”
March was the 16th straight month with year-over-year order gains and eight of 10 trailer categories posted year-over-year improvements with most in the plus 40 percent range, Maly said.
“On a quarterly basis, first quarter net orders were up 28 percent versus the same quarter last year,” he said. “Regarding build in March, month-over-month softness may well indicate that OEMs were not able to increase production as much as they might have liked, amid comments heard about tight component supplies. In the coming months, ACT will be closely watching components related to undercarriage, suspensions, axles, and tires.”
ACT is the worldwide publisher of new and used commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China CV market.
Dorothy Cox is former assistant editor – now retired – of The Trucker, and a 20-plus-year trucking journalism veteran. She holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and a master’s degree in divinity. Cox has been in journalism since 1972. She has won awards for her writing in both mainstream and trucking journalism.