Used truck sales were down in April, but the prices were significantly higher, reports ACT Research.
At the same time, U.S. trailer original equipment manufacturers are quickly filling available 2022 production slots. Backlogs for dry van and reefer trailers are likely to stretch into December, another ACT Research analyst says.
Used truck sales
With used Class 8 truck sales, retail volumes (same dealer sales) were 24% lower month-over-month, according to an ACT Research news release. The data comes from the company’s latest State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 report.
Longer term, volumes were down 40% year over year. Average prices were down 1% compared to March, but 75% more expensive than in April 2021. Average miles were up 3% from March and up 6% year over year. The number of trucks sold was 4% higher from March and 7% higher than April 2021.
“Same dealer retail sales of used Class 8 trucks took a bit of a tumble in April. While normal seasonality predicted an 8% decline, lumpy new truck sales and the lack of used truck inventory are the more likely culprits in April’s slowing,” Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research, said in a news release. “Waning April new truck sales portend more weakness ahead in the secondary market, though March’s uptick has yet to make its way through the inventory maze.”
The April deficit marks the 10th straight month of shrinking year-over-year sales. Sales have been hamstrung by the low used-truck inventory.
Supply chain problems are affecting the U.S. used truck market, Tam said. Truck manufacturers want to make more vehicles, which would affect the used truck market, but have been constrained by supply chain concerns, he said.
“Inflation persists in taking its toll on consumer confidence and spending. While the spot freight markets have borne the brunt of the initial slowing, contract markets are not expected to escape unscathed,” Tam said in the news release. “Collectively, lower demand for trucks at the same time capacity additions are still occurring are having the predicted and understandable effect of driving prices for both freight hauling and used trucks lower.”
Not only are used truck sales backlogged, but so are new trailer sales.
The backlog of trailer sales is likely to ease during late spring and early summer, Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research, said in a news release. However, the opening of the 2023 orders will reverse the backlog contraction and likely extend it into next year. No date has been set for opening the 2023 order boards, he said.
The analysis is from ACT Research’s U.S. New Trailer Components and Materials Forecast report.
“While OEMs continue to negotiate with fleets, that effort is building a large group of staged/planned orders that are not yet officially posted to the backlog. Once OEMs gain sufficient confidence in their supply chain and labor availability to open 2023 production slots, expect a surge of orders to be officially accepted,” Maly said in the news release.
Trailer manufacturers are keeping close tabs on accepting orders, he said. Component and material sourcing, as well as staff issues, are constraints, but less so than in the previous quarter, he said.
“While we would expect that to continue during the next few quarters, progress will still likely be a bit choppy,” Maly said.
Columbus, Ind.-based ACT Research publishes commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. LL
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