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Number of trucks sold at auction rose to typical levels in November, pricing unstable

Ashley Coker



Some highlights from this month’s J.D. Power Commercial Truck Guidelines industry update:

Volume at auction on the rise

The number of trucks sold at auction rose to a more typical level in November, but pricing was unstable. Pricing trended lower with less consistency. The average auction price of 2015 model year trucks came in at $45,000, a 17.3 percent lower than October.

The average auction price of 2014 model year trucks came in at $32,750, 5.1 percent lower than November. Prices for model year 2013 trucks rose 11.6 percent last month. Prices for model year 2012 trucks dropped 8.7 percent, and prices for model year 2011 rose 5.8 percent.

“There was more fluctuation in pricing this month, particularly for trucks of model year 2015. The wider swings in hammer price appear to be natural market movement,” the report reads. “Despite the somewhat lower pricing in November, depreciation in 2018 has been nonexistent.”

Year-over-year, J.D. Power reports trucks 4-6 years old brought in 20.3 percent more money over the first 11 months of 2018 than during the same period last year.

The report predicts auctions will slow down as winter marches on, making market judgements less clear. A typical slowdown in auction volume and mildly lower pricing is anticipated in the first half of 2019.

Retail sector sees mild depreciation

J.D. Power reported average pricing for late-model trucks continued to mildly pull back at retail in October, the most recent month with full data available. Low mileage trucks, however, continued to bring extremely strong pricing.

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The average class 8 truck retailed in October was 67 months old, had 462,534 miles and brought $56,690 according to the report. Compared to September, the average truck was one month newer but had 1.5 percent more miles and brought 0.5 percent more money.

Year-over-year, the average sleeper sold at retail was six months newer, had 0.1 more miles and brought 18.6 percent more money.

Prices dropped 1 percent for model year 2016 trucks and 4.3 for model year 2015 trucks. Prices rose 2.1 percent for model year 2014 trucks.

Year-over-year, J.D. Power reports late-model trucks brought in 9.3 percent more money over the first 10 months of 2018 than during the same period last year. Depreciation is running 0.2 percent in 2018, compared to 1.6 percent last year.

Sales per dealership hold steady

Class 8 truck sales per dealership came in lower than expected in October, merely matching September’s 4.9 trucks.

Preliminary data for November indicates further pullback in volume.

Expect similar reports in the first quarter

The report suggests the steep decline in new truck orders in November likely indicates buyers are satisfied with the trucks they already have in the pipeline. The report also predicts that economic growth will moderate now that the “juice” provided by 2018 tax cuts has played out.

“The Section 179 tax incentives and bonus depreciation remain in place for 2019, bolstering the new and used truck market,” the report reads. “Expect conditions in the first half to look similar to recent months, with an increasing supply of used trucks causing mildly higher depreciation.”

The next J.D. Power update is expected to be released mid-January.

Chris Henry

Chris Henry has spent his entire 20-year career in transportation. In 2014, he founded the online motor carrier benchmarking service StakUp. As a result of a partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) in 2015, StakUp was rebranded as inGauge and Henry became the program manager for the TCA Profitability Program (TPP), an exclusive benchmarking initiative that includes more than 230 motor carrier participants throughout North America. Since joining the program, participation in TPP has grown over 300%. In June 2019, StakUp was acquired by FreightWaves and Henry became its vice president of carrier profitability, in addition to his role with TPP. Henry earned an MBA from the University of Massachusetts and a bachelor of commerce degree from Nipissing University.