J.D. Power: Summer closes out hot for used trucks

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Updated Sep 23, 2021
Trucks parked in a lot.

August’s Class 8 auction pricing was stable at a high level and retail pricing set records once again. What’s more, the medium-duty market was generally strong, according to the most recent J.D. Power Commercial Truck Guidelines.

In the auction space, August’s results indicate a low-volume month for the Class 8 auctions, with fewer auctions on the calendar and fewer trucks sold. As such, there wasn’t much data to get a read on. There is no change in market conditions underlying the mixed results below:

  • Model year (MY) 2018: $71,825 average; $4,440 (5.8%) lower than July
  • MY 2017: $55,581 average; $4,413 (8.6 percent) higher than July
  • MY 2016: $45,957 average; $2,249 (4.7 percent) lower than July
  • MY 2015: $40,985 average; $228 (0.6 percent) higher than July
  • MY 2014: $34,374 average; $4,947 (16.8 percent) higher than July

J.D. Power auction price chart

J.D. Power reports, month-over-month, its benchmark group of 4- to 6-year-old trucks brought 1.3 percent less money. Compared with the first 8 months of 2020, this group is running 84.7 percent ahead, and compared with the same period of 2019, 53.1 percent ahead. Late-model trucks have appreciated 3.4 percent per month on average in 2021 to date.

“Late-model trucks remain in tight supply, and those that are available continue to bring sky-high prices. With freight rates still extremely strong and supply of new trucks curtailed, market fundamentals still favor the seller,” the report states.

On the retail side, selling prices resumed their record-breaking trajectory in August after plateauing in July.

The average sleeper tractor retailed in August was 73 months old, had 452,890 miles and brought $74,499. Compared with July, this average sleeper was identical in age, essentially equal in miles and brought $4,899 (7.0 percent) more money. Compared with August 2020, this average sleeper was 5 months older, had 7,596 (1.6 percent) fewer miles, and brought $32,409 (77.0 percent) more money.

Looking at trucks two to six years of age, August’s average pricing was as follows:

  • MY 2020: $119,552; $2,047 (1.7 percent) lower than July
  • MY 2019: $102,209; $2,348 (2.4 percent) higher than July
  • MY 2018: $82,643; $3,933 (5.0 percent) higher than July
  • MY 2017: $66,539; $6,984 (11.7 percent) higher than July
  • MY 2016: $52,182; $2,898 (5.9 percent) higher than July

Month-over-month, late-model trucks brought 5.6 percent more money. In the first 8 months of 2021, late-model trucks were 27.2 percent ahead of the same period of 2020, and 7.3 percent ahead of the same period of 2019. On average, late-model trucks have appreciated 2.2 percent per month in 2021, J.D. Power reports.

The medium-duty market was generally strong, with conventionals up notably but cabovers pulling back a bit. Trucks continue to appreciate, and comparisons vs. 2020 and 2019 remain extremely strong, the report states.

Starting with Class 3-4 cabovers, the benchmark group pulled back for the second month in a row, averaging $20,349, $1,231 (5.7 percent) lower than July, but $7,807 (62.2 percent) higher than August 2020. The first 8 months of 2021 are running 59.9 percent higher than the same period of 2020, and 25.5 percent higher than the same period of 2019. Trucks in this segment have gained an average of 1.3 percent per month in value so far in 2021, J.D. Power reports.

“The new truck shortage is all but guaranteed to continue into 2022, assuming economic conditions remain on track. Freight rates could peak early in the year but should not pull back notably for some time. As of this writing in mid- September, these are the two main factors supporting used truck pricing and governing our forecasts,” the report states.        

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