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Used Class 8 Sales, New Trailers Down

Used Class 8 same-dealer truck sales volumes took a steep downturn in May, declining by 18% compared to April, according to ACT Research.

Year-to-date comparisons were more favorable, but still negative, as used Class 8 truck sales volumes fell by 5% compared to the same five-month period in 2015. Sales were down by as much as 10% compared to May 2015.

ACT attributed some of the decline to the usual seasonal drop-off that occurs this time of year.

The average price of used trucks was flat month-to-month and the average age increased.

“All three market segments saw declines, with auction and wholesale hit the hardest,” said Steve Tam, ACT’s vice president of the commercial vehicle sector. “Dealers are reporting that used truck inventories continue to be high and are causing used truck prices to continue falling.”

Meanwhile, ACT reports that trailer orders fell nearly 14% month over month in May, coming close to earlier projections for a seasonal slowdown.

Earlier this month, ACT projected a downturn of 16% compared to May as the expected summer slowdown approached. Compared to this month in 2015, trailer orders are down by 10%.

“Although commercial trailer orders have been progressing at a better pace than Class 8 volumes, the expected seasonal slowdown in order placement has begun,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research.

Fleets are continuing to bias their investments toward the trailer market over the tractor market but with a weaker economy and poor freight environment, orders have waned.

“The market is being driven by large fleets, as small to medium fleets are tending to remain on the sidelines,” said Maly. “That said, large players are not immune to market pressures, as anecdotal information indicates that negotiations for the upcoming order season are starting to bog down.”

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