Retail prices surpass six figures as used market continues ascent

Group of trucks parked

The used truck market set another milestone last month with retail Class 8 sleeper prices surpassing $100,000 for the first time in recorded history, J.D. Power announced Wednesday in its February 2022 Commercial Truck Guidelines industry report.

In the auction space, January was a slow month. Few sales were on the calendar so volume was down, though J.D. Power said pricing from those events remained high through there "was not enough data to return meaningful averages."

"As of now, sleeper tractor auction pricing remains astronomical, with anything newer than five years old bringing six figures," the company states. J.D. Power also said it will provide its usual market statistics again next month.

Pricing exploded out of the gate in the retail space.

J.D. Power reported the average sleeper tractor retailed in January was 68 months old, had 451,953 miles and brought $100,096. The company reports this is the first time in 14 years of tracking this metric the overall average retail price figure broke six figures. Compared with December 2021, this average sleeper was five months newer, had 16,332 (3.5 percent) fewer miles and brought $9,698 (10.7 percent) more money. Compared with January 2021, this average sleeper was one month newer, had essentially equal miles and brought $52,020 (108.2 percent) more money.

In the popular 2- to 6-year-old truck cohort, average pricing across the board was strong:

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  • Model year (MY) 2021: $174,642; no basis for comparison in December
  • MY 2020: $142,935; $533 (0.4 percent) lower than December
  • MY 2019: $123,500; $4,923 (4.2 percent) higher than December
  • MY 2018: $109,071; $10,778 (11.0 percent) higher than December
  • MY 2017: $74,828; $1,568 (2.1 percent) lower than December

J.D. Power states model years 2017 to 2019 averaged 4.8 percent more money in January 2022 than December 2021. Starting with next month’s update, the company adds it will use model years 2018 to 2020 to represent the 3- to 5-year-old cohort. 

Overall, dealers retailed an average of 3.4 trucks per rooftop in January, which J.D. Power says is the lowest since the brief market depression of April 2020. Though January is historically a low-volume month, so this seasonality combined with the ongoing shortage of desirable used trucks resulted in the mediocre figure. 

"As we said throughout 2021, we expect pricing to plateau and then pull back as 2022 progresses. Most movement will be seen in the second half of the year. By year’s end, we predict average pricing for the calendar year to come in 10 percent lower than 2021," the company adds.

The medium-duty market also had a fantastic January.

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J.D. Power reports Class 3-4 cabovers averaged $32,896 in January 2022. This figure is $6,771 (25.9 percent) higher than December 2021 and $14,086 (74.9 percent) higher than January 2021. Class 4 conventionals average pricing was $41,803 in January 2022, $13,413 (47.2 percent) higher than December 2021 and $19,586 (88.2 percent) higher than January 2021. Finally, Class 6 conventional pricing averaged $52,503 in January 2022, $10,808 (25.9 percent) higher than December 2021 and $24,031 (84.4 percent) higher than January 2021.

Looking ahead, J.D. Power reports new Class 8 deliveries in January 2022 were back down to a level typical of the parts-shortage era, suggesting December 2021’s unexpectedly strong result was a year-end anomaly.

"Other than some early signs of a potentially maturing market in selected medium-duty segments, price and volume figures still indicate the used truck market is supply constrained," the company adds. "As for the demand side, we’ve been mentioning for a while now that the macroeconomic effect of inflation and rising interest rates will apply downward pressure in upcoming months. Overall, the used truck market will remain strong in the first quarter as the boom market matures."

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

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