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Sales of used Class 8 trucks plummet 22 percent from previous year

(Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Sales of used trucks in the Class 8 market plummeted 22 percent in May compared with the same month a year earlier, and dropped 8 percent from the previous month.

Sales are down 17 percent year-to date compared with the first five months of 2018, according to ACT Research.

“Sales of used trucks were strong until around March and April when the tone in the marketplace changed,” Steve Tam, vice president of ACT Research, told FreightWaves. “It’s very much a reflection of what we are seeing in the freight market; when conditions soften, the first people who don’t get called to haul the next load are the owner-operators and small fleets – the primary buyers of used trucks.”

The average price of a Class 8 used truck sold in May was $47,887, up 6 percent compared to May 2018 when trucks were selling for $45,188. Used truck prices dipped 1 percent compared with the previous month.

However, used truck prices are up 10 percent year-to-date compared with the first five months of 2018.

“We are hearing from dealers that phone calls are down, floor traffic is down and trucks are sitting on the lots a bit longer than usual,” Tam said. “This is forcing dealers to have to lower some of their prices on used trucks.”

The average used truck mileage was 441,000 in May, the same average as a year ago, but dropped 1 percent from 444,000 in April.

The average age of a used truck for sale in May is seven years and two months, an increase from around six years and eight months a year earlier, Tam said.

“The market is spotty right now with some sales representatives and dealers reporting they could sell more if that could get more trucks at the right price, while others are concerned about rising inventory levels,” Tam said.

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One Comment

  1. Mike

    I would say some of the sales decline are due to the dismal mechanical issues many of these trucks have. 500,000 miles is nearing the end of use, in frames will be required in many cases. And then the emissions, those are normally shot too. You are looking at a $40,000 + repair bill right off the dealer lot. No thanks, and don’t be a victim.

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Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to [email protected].