A few takeaways from NTEA's industry market report

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Updated Sep 28, 2023
Vehicle chassis being assembled by two technicians

Last Wednesday, NTEA released the third edition of its U.S. Commercial Vehicle Market Report.

Developed in conjunction with Commercial Truck Trader and S&P Global Mobility, the report analyzes data and trends found in the commercial vehicle market to better understand the current vehicle population and anticipate upcoming purchasing and registration trends.

The free report is available for download on the NTEA website. For those who haven’t seen it and might not have time to read the 26-page document, here are some key takeaways.

Buyer engagement uninspiring

According to information provided to NTEA by Commercial Truck Trader (CTT), the number of days vehicles are being listed by CTT has risen in 2023. The average age of listed vehicles also has jumped from 2.8 years old in 2021 to 3.4 years old in 2023.

Expectedly, buyer considerations are changing. According to CTT data, consideration trends for both new and used equipment have been steadily falling since the fourth quarter of 2021. CTT defines consideration as a “measurement of the perceived effort an end-user puts forth to locate a suitable vehicle as measured by search data.” 

Used equipment had a consideration index number of nearly 55 in October 2021, which equates to high demand and purchase likelihood. Today, that index number is barely 10. New truck consideration has fallen from the low 20s to mid-single digits in the same period.

New vs. Used consideration rates for equipment

Smaller truck classes supporting general freight?

S&P reports more than 40% of registrations for Class 6 and 7 chassis cabs and straight trucks this year have been to Lease and Rental operations, which has long been the dominant segment for that equipment. Yet perhaps more illuminating is the steady rise in registrations for Class 6 and 7 units with General Freight operations.

Registrations to those fleets surpassed 10% for all units in April for the first time in years and was just below 10% in June. The segment has been incrementally rising for two years, per S&P data. Conversely, Services fleets registrations have fallen from 12% in July 2021 to below 10% over the last few months.

Considerations for these vehicles also have hovered between 10 and 20 on CTT’s Consideration Index for the past 12 months.

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Shift underway in stripped chassis fuel types

S&P reports registrations for gas-powered stripped chassis were nearly 2,000 units in July 2021. At the time, no other power source exceeded 200. Registrations for gas-powered chassis then rose to more than 3,000 units in Oct. 2021 but has since been steadily declining. Registrations fell below 1,000 units for the first time in Feb. 2022 and have done so again three times in 2023.

Diesel-powered registrations also are down. S&P data indicates the segment had nearly 500 registrants in Aug. 2021 but has not exceeded 250 units in a single month since. Compressed natural gas is the fuel type with most uplift. Registrants for CNG units nearly reached 500 units in Oct. 2022 and have been consistently above 250 units since March 2023.

“With perceived stability of CNG pricing when compared to diesels, fleets may be investing in CNG to improve return on investment in uncertain times,” NTEA wrote.

Stripped chassis fuel type trends

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