Used prices expectedly rise thanks to lower volumes in January, J.D. Power reports

Used truck sales volumes fell as expected in January but pricing across the board remains stable, J.D. Power reported Wednesday in its February 2021 Commercial Truck Guidelines industry report.

In the auction channel, the company says volume typically falls in January due to few scheduled auctions. As such, the small sample size of auction data makes it hard to draw any firm conclusions about the market, though J.D. Power does note its recent prediction that the year would start strong was certainly supported by hammer prices. 

J.D. Power says average auction prices were as follows:

  • MY 2018: $51,179; $4,269 (9.1 percent) higher than December
  • MY 2017: $47,200; $1,332 (2.9 percent) higher than December
  • MY 2016: $37,333; $2,673 (7.7 percent) higher than December
  • MY 2015: $28,350; $2,924 (11.5 percent) higher than December
  • MY 2014: $20,344; $106 (0.5 percent) higher than December

On a month over month basis, the company says its benchmark group of 4- to 6-year-old trucks brought 28 percent more money in January.

Jd Power February 2021 Used Truck Auction Data

The retail channel also saw an expected seasonal dip in volume, and was able to maintain its strong pricing trend. The minimal loss in retail sales volumes was witnessed in a drop to 5.2 trucks sold per rooftop last month, a dip of 0.2 trucks from December. 

The average sleeper tractor retailed in January was 69 months old, had 451,825 miles, and brought $48,055. Compared to December, J.D. Power says this average sleeper was two months older, had 3,595 (0.8 percent) fewer miles, and brought $595 (1.2 percent) less money. Compared to January 2020, this average sleeper was two months newer, had 21,254 (4.5 percent) fewer miles, and brought $2,438 (5.3 percent) more money, the company adds.

Among the high-volume 2- to 5-year-old truck cohort, the company says prices were generally higher:

  • MY 2020: $124,826; $8,441 (7.3 percent) higher than December
  • MY 2019: $90,735; $9,421 (9.4 percent) lower than December
  • MY 2018: $72,982; $758 (1.0 percent) lower than December
  • MY 2017: $55,654; $5,725 (11.5 percent) higher than December
  • MY 2016: $41,255; $1,205 (3.0 percent) higher than December

"Month over month, late-model trucks brought 3.8 percent more money," the company says. "The lower month over month average for model-year 2019 trucks is due mainly to a larger proportion of high-mileage trucks in our dataset that our mileage adjustment doesn’t adequately address. Individual models with average or lower mileage gained value in January."

Jd Power February 2021 Used Truck Retail Data

The company adds its expects minimal value loss into the second quarter with "mild to moderate price appreciation for lower mileage trucks lasting into the second quarter. After that, returning supply of trades combined with a shifting freight environment should cause some relaxation in pricing."

As for the medium-duty space, J.D. Power says January was a mixed month depending on the vehicle segment.

The average price for Class 3-4 cabovers was $20,310, a whopping $7,877 (63.4 percent) higher than January 2020. J.D. Power cites low volume as a reason for the huge upswing. Average pricing for Class 4 conventionals was $23,717, $1,138 (4.6 percent) lower than January 2020. A high number of new trucks also helped the Class 6 conventional market, where average pricing was $28,878 in January, an impressive $6,938 (31.6 percent) higher than January 2020.

In forecasting the months ahead, the company says "most buyers and sellers would say the sleeper market currently feels strong. Interestingly, pricing for these trucks is only at about the average of the post-Great Recession trend. So strength right now is relative to our recent experience. That said, we live and die by the market we’re currently in, and conditions should remain favorable into the second quarter."

For more information, and to read the entirety of this month’s report, please CLICK HERE.

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