November a tough month for used truck sales, prices

Jason Cannon

December 16, 2013

Volume_12102013North American truck dealers didn’t have a very happy Thanksgiving while struggling to sell used trucks in November.

According to ATD/NADA, with approximately 50 percent of November data collected, retail used truck sales per rooftop are running at 4.6 – 1.6 trucks (or 25.8 percent) lower than October, and 1.4 trucks (or 23.3 percent) under the year-to-date average of 6.0.

“We expect reports from our remaining large dealer groups to bump up that average a bit, but it is unlikely the measure will hit 5.0,” says Chris Visser, Senior Analyst and Product Manager for ATD/NADA Official Commercial Truck Guide. “The second half of 2013 has seen swings in volume orders of magnitude greater than in 2012. Qualitative research has provided a number of valid potential factors behind this wild ride, including the government shutdown, severe weather, sticker shock over the high price of late-model trucks, and Section 179 tax benefits moving some buyers to new instead of used. However, most of these factors were also in play in 2012 to varying degrees.”

The most major difference between the two periods is the average price of a used truck, which turned notably upward in early 2013 and is now running 5.5 percent ahead of 2012 year-to-date, Visser says.

“November pricing is not yet clear, but based on recent down months, it is likely that the newest model years were responsible for the decrease in volume,” he adds. “This is another way of saying high pricing may have kept some buyers on the sidelines this month.”

An ATD/NADA report shows October retail pricing remained close to the record, while wholesale pricing was down slightly thanks to a mix of trucks with mildly higher mileage. An analysis of 2010 models shows Cummins-equipped International ProStars now fully market-competitive.

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