Older used trucks get the cold shoulder in January

Jason Cannon

February 27, 2014

Older model year used heavy trucks got the cold shoulder in January as auction and dealer-to-dealer sales indicate buyers were shopping mainly for younger, lower-mileage sleeper tractors in January.

“The average age and mileage of trucks sold has declined since early 2013, but January 2014’s average was a substantial shift downward in both measures,” says NADA senior analyst Chris Visser.

The average sleeper tractor sold wholesale in January was 72 months old, had 623,844 miles, and brought $38,549, Visser says.

“This average truck was a notable 11 months younger than its December 2014 counterpart, and a whopping 28 months younger than January 2013,” he says. “In terms of mileage, January’s average was 19,781 (or 3.1 percent) lower than December, and a substantial 91,502 (or 12.8 percent) lower than year-prior. This much younger and lower-mileage mix caused January’s pricing to come in $7771 (or 20.2 percent) higher than December’s, and $14,751 (or 38.3 percent) higher than January 2013.”

Model year 2011 truck had their biggest month since they entered the secondary market, beating out the previously-dominant 2007 and 2010 model years, Visser says.

“2011’s are responsible for the comparatively high count of trucks in the 400-499K mileage range sold,” he says. “One month does not make a trend, but we have been tracing steady declines in the age and mileage of trucks sold through the auction and dealer-to-dealer channels.”

Buyers continue to look for the lowest-mileage trucks they can find, and thanks to the increased availability of newer model years, Visser says buyers are not forced to settle for higher-mileage trucks to the extent that they were a year ago.

“Importantly, January’s volume was off compared to recent months, most likely due to the severe weather,” he says. “As such, we are not surprised that only the most desirable trucks sold. However, even when viewed as an anomaly, this month reinforced prevailing trends.”

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