Used market sees stable auction, falling retail pricing in July

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Updated Sep 25, 2023
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Auction volumes were down and held pricing well last month while the retail sector saw pricing slip considerably after a better June, J.D. Power reported Monday in its August 2023 Commercial Truck Guidelines report.

In the auction sector, typical seasonality was evident for another month as Class 8 sales volume dropped substantially. Pricing held firm.

J.D. Power reports among 3- to 7-year old trucks, average pricing was:

  • Model year (MY) 2021: $63,974; $12,420 (16.3%) lower than June
  • MY2020: $66,925; $5,900 (9.7%) higher than June
  • MY 2019: $42,068; $1,670 (3.8%) lower than June
  • MY 2018: $29,077; $1,165 (3.9%) lower than June
  • Model year 2017: $21,542; $119 (0.5%) lower than June

The company states the 3-year-old trucks sold at auction last month had extremely high mileage and unusual specs which explain their pricing anomaly. Trucks with more typical mileage and specs were flat compared to June. 

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

J.D. Power adds the late-model segment saw another uptick in pricing in July, with 4- to 6-year-old trucks bringing 2.3% more money than in June, but 25.1% less money than July 2022. In the first seven months of 2023, late-model sleepers brought 43.4% less money than the same period of 2022. July’s uptick caused the year-to-date monthly depreciation average to relax even more to 5.1%, the company says.

"The newest model years available in the marketplace are bringing just more than 20% more money than the strong pre-pandemic period of 2018 in nominal figures, or slightly higher if adjusted for inflation. There is still more downward than upward pressure on selling prices, but for now supply and demand are in relative equilibrium," the company states.

Within the retail sector pricing was hit hard. 

J.D. Power says the average sleeper tractor retailed in July 2023 was 74 months old, had 464,561 miles and brought $66,640. Compared with June 2023, this average sleeper was two months older, had 4,401 (1.0%) more miles and brought $1.958 (2.9%) less money. Compared with July 2022, this average sleeper was eight months older, had 28,980 (6.7%) more miles and brought $41,401 (38.3%) less money.

[RELATED: Used truck volumes dip in July]

Within the popular 2- to 6-year-old cohort, pricing was even weaker:

  • MY 2022: $131,846; $8,225 (6.7%) higher than June
  • MY 2021: $94,592; $16,324 (14.7%) lower than June 
  • MY 2020: $79,038; $2,848 (3.7%) higher than June
  • MY 2019: $60,977; $820 (1.3%) lower than June
  • MY2018: $47,922; $10,267 (17.6%) lower than June 

"There was an unusually high spread in selling price between trucks with similar specs and mileage in July that is not clearly explained by the data," J.D. Power reports. "That situation is largely responsible for the mixed comparisons with June. Discussions with dealers and OEMs could provide clarity on this observation."

On average, 3- to 5-year-old trucks brought 6.6% less money than June, and 34.4% less than July 2022. Through the first seven months of the year, pricing on those models are down 30.6% from the same period in 2022. Additionally, monthly depreciation in 2023 is currently averaging 3.7%.

But J.D. Power also states late-model sleepers are bringing about 11% more money than the last strong pre-pandemic period of 2018 in nominal dollars, or about 9% less when adjusted for inflation.

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

"The recent stabilization in auction pricing suggests retail depreciation could follow suit," the company says.

On a unit basis, sales per rooftop slipped back 0.7 units to 2.8 sales in the month. July is typically a stronger month than June, so J.D. Power says future months will provide more context to the swap in the two months this year.

In the medium-duty space, the market was mostly flat to downward.

The Class 3-4 cabovers averaging $22,662 in July. This figure is $239 (1.1%) higher than June, but $2,724 (10.7%) lower than July 2022. Class 4 conventionals averaged $33,085 in July, $3,853 (10.4%) lower than June, and $3,272 (9.0%) lower than July 2022. And Class 6 conventionals averaged $32,989 in July, $509 (1.6%) higher than June but $8,756 (21.0%) lower than July 2022.

Overall, J.D. Power says July's data was likely not highly influenced by Yellow's bankruptcy announcement. Future months also will likely not be overwhelmed by the carrier's liquidation. "Not all of those trucks will be sold in the open market and, ultimately, the liquidation should place moderate negative pressure on Class 8 daycab values," the company states.

[RELATED: Dissolution of Yellow beginning to impact freight]

In looking at the larger market, the company believes sleeper prices at auction have settled in at a level slightly higher than the most recent pre-pandemic bull market when adjusted for inflation.

"Freight volume and rates compared with the supply and availability of trucks suggests pricing should currently be depreciating somewhat. The retail channel is behaving more in line with those expectations," J.D. Power says.

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

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