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Used, new Class 8 tractors market shifts

When comparing used Class 8 trailer sales to those of new ones, there is a clear and interesting difference, as reported by The Trucker. Retail volumes for the sale of used Class 8 trailers saw a 10% decrease month-over-month. Put into comparison with October 2021, they were a whole 30% later, according to the ACT Research’s newest release of State of the Industry: U.S. Class 3-8 Used Trucks.

Comparatively, sales of new trailers are seeing significant levels of success. The total number of trailers sold in October reaches nearly 47,000. This is an increase of 82% from September. Even more shocking, it is 168% higher than the sales of October 2021, according to ACT reports.

The data for November, for both used and new trailer sales, are not yet available.

There is, however, detailed data on the intricacies of the used Class 8 tractors and trailers sold in October. Compared month-over-month the average retail price of used Class 8 tractors increased by a full percentage point, while average miles decreased by a full percentage point. When the average age of the tractors was compared with September’s data, it had increased by 3%.

Comparing the data to October 2021 reveals even more information on the sales patterns this year. Used Class 8 sales were 14% higher, average miles were greater by 1% and average age was greater by 2%.

“Drama in the used truck market increased in October, as the average retail sales price moved counter to expectations, ticking up a scant 1% month-over-month,” said Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research.  “While a welcome change from the monotonous drumbeat of persistent decline, nothing fundamental that would recalibrate expectations has changed.”

Keeping track of new trucks and their assembly can shed information about the supply levels for used trucks and their parts, Tam said.

“As the OEMs have continued to make incremental progress on overcoming supply-chain constraints, marginal improvements in output have logically followed,” Tam said. “Looking ahead, other forces will step in and offset those improvements.”

Jennifer McNealy, the ACT’s director of commercial vehicle market research and publications, shifted the focus back to new trailers, “with more 2023 order boards opening, October net orders continued their upward trend,” she said.

McNealy explained what the data shows about OEMs willingness to accept orders.

“With the supply-chain constraints improving for trailer manufacturers, as well as their increasing nimbleness in meeting and mitigating those challenges, OEMs are more comfortable accepting orders, and this month’s preliminary data demonstrates that,” she said.

She also emphasized that, “demand remains strong. With backlog-to-build ratios above the seven-month mark, on average, fleets needing trailers are getting in queue and staying there.”