J.D. Power reports price steady as used volumes increase

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Updated Jul 20, 2023
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Has the used truck market bottomed out?

It's probably too early to say now, but J.D. Power reported Monday that pricing in the auction sector was stable in June despite an uptick in volume while in the retail sector sales hit their highest volume total in 16 months. Both are encouraging signs for a market that has been desperate to normalize after a year of falling prices and demand.

July 2023 JD Power Auction pricesAverage auction selling price for 3- to 6-year-old sleeper tractors, adjusted for mileage.

Within the auction space, J.D. Power reports 3- to 7-year-old trucks, average pricing for the company's benchmark truck in June was: 

  • Model year (MY) 2021: $76,394; $3,406 (4.3%) lower than May
  • MY 2020: $61,025; $2,001 (3.4%) higher than May
  • Y 2019: $43,738; $1,246 (2.9%) higher than May 
  • MY 2018: $30,242; $658 (2.2%) lower than May 
  • MY 2017: $21,661; $183 (0.8%) lower than May 

On its data, J.D. Power reports, "As we’ve mentioned before, trucks put into service during the pandemic have led a tough life since the new-truck shortage of that period essentially required them to do the work of more than one truck. As such, these units have entered the used market with extremely high mileage for their age. We adjust our averages for mileage, but that factor nonetheless depresses selling prices, particularly for the 2021 model year. Trucks with average mileage for their age have not depreciated as heavily."

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The company continues that, despite this situation, late-model trucks brought 3.0% more money in June than in May, but 34.6% less money than June 2022. In the first six months of 2023, late-model sleepers brought 45.4% less money than the same period of 2022.

J.D. Power adds June’s stable pricing caused the year-to-date monthly depreciation average to relax to 5.6%. The newest model years available in the marketplace have settled in at just under 20% more money than the strong pre-pandemic period of 2018 in nominal figures, or roughly comparable money if adjusted for inflation. 

"We expected pricing to fall below the 2018 peak before leveling out, so June’s flat month-over-month result is an upside surprise. The influx of off-lease units continues, but it’s possible continued strength in contract rates combined with the recent bump in spot rates has been enough to curtail depreciation for the time being," the company states. 

July 2023 JD Power Retail pricesAverage retail selling price for 3- to 5-year-old sleeper tractors, adjusted for mileage.

The data in the retail segment in June wasn't quite as strong — pricing was still generally down — but a huge bump in volume shows that section of the market also may be normalizing or slowing its descent.

J.D. Power states the average sleeper tractor retailed in June 2023 was 72 months old, had 460,160 miles and brought $68,598. Compared with May, this average sleeper was identical in age, had 11,072 (2.3%) more miles and brought $3,466 (4.8%) less money. Compared with June 2022, the company says this average sleeper was three months older, had 4,195 (0.9%) fewer miles and brought $40,043 (36.9%) less money. 

Among the popular 2- to 6-year-old trucks cohort, pricing was: 

  • MY 2022: $123,621; $19,900 (13.3%) lower than May 
  • MY 2021: $110,916; $1,388 (1.2%) lower than May 
  • MY 2020: $76,190; $7,144 (8.6%) lower than May 
  • MY 2019: $61,805; $6,440 (9.4%) lower than May 
  • MY 2018: $58,189; $4,299 (8.0%) higher than May 

J.D. Power says the large swing in pricing for MY 2022 tractors was due to low volume and thus not particularly influential. The company says 3- to 5-year-old trucks brought an average of 5.7% less money than May, and 33.4% less than June 2022. The first six months of 2023 averaged 30.0% less money than the same period of 2022, the company adds. Monthly depreciation in 2023 is currently averaging 3.4%.

"Late-model sleepers are bringing about 16% more money than the last strong pre-pandemic period of 2018 in nominal dollars, or about 4% less when adjusted for inflation," the company states. On a unit basis, daycabs continue to hold their value substantially better than aerodynamic sleepers in 2023. Since late in 2022, late-model daycabs have brought roughly the same money as sleepers of similar age and mileage, J.D. Power says. 

[RELATED: Same dealer sales in used truck sector up 21% in June]

The positive in the retail segment was volume. 

June’s retail sales per rooftop averaged 3.5 trucks, a 0.7 jump from May and the best result in 16 months, J.D. Power says. "Retail pricing did not stabilize like auction pricing, but more buyers were writing checks for trucks in June."

The medium-duty market didn't have as much good news. 

Class 3-4 cabovers averaged $22,423 in June. This figure is $6,752 (23.1%) lower than May, and $7,653 (25.4%) lower than June 2022. For Class 4 conventionals, pricing was $36,938 in June, $1,742 (4.9%) higher than May, and $3,381 (8.4%) lower than June 2022. Class 6 conventionals averaged $32,480 in June, $4,587 (12.4%) lower than May, and $13,748 (29.7%) lower than June 2022. 

Overall, J.D. Power reports June’s stable auction prices and increase in retail sales could suggest the market "may be shifting to a less drastic depreciation environment. July’s sales data will provide more guidance as to whether the supply of trucks on the ground is becoming somewhat better matched to the volume of freight the nation needs to move."

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

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