Commercial Truck Performance: Used Truck Prices and New Truck Sales Forecast

by Jon LeSage, Edi­tor, Used Car Mar­ket Reports

Here’s a look at the Class 4–8 com­mer­cial truck mar­ket in fourth quar­ter used vehi­cle per­for­mance and an IHS fore­cast on 2016 sales, with heavy-duty trucks see­ing a down­turn………

  • You can view the Decem­ber com­mer­cial truck update in this week’s UCMR, fea­tur­ing Chris Viss­er, senior ana­lyst, com­mer­cial trucks at the Used Car Guide divi­sion of J.D. Pow­er. Viss­er reports that fourth quar­ter retail com­mer­cial truck sales were shap­ing up rel­a­tive­ly strong­ly in sales vol­ume, though pric­ing has been down for three-to-five year old heavy-duty sleep­er trac­tors. NADA Used Car Guide esti­mates that this cat­e­go­ry lost 14% of its val­ue dur­ing 2015, about 3% more than 2014.
  • The Jan­u­ary edi­tion of Com­mer­cial Truck Guide Indus­try Update reports that auc­tion vol­ume ramped up again in Decem­ber. Sleep­er trac­tors sold through the nation’s largest no-reserve auc­tion com­pa­nies increased dra­mat­i­cal­ly in Decem­ber, fol­low­ing a sub­dued Novem­ber. Despite their high­er annu­al mileage, sleep­ers still hold a pre­mi­um over day­cabs back to mod­el year 2009 on a mileage-adjust­ed basis. This per­for­mance is some­what sur­pris­ing giv­en the vast­ly greater sup­ply and deval­u­a­tion of sleep­er trac­tors in the auc­tion lanes.
  • Ana­lysts at IHS Auto­mo­tive, part of IHS, Inc., report that the U.S com­mer­cial vehi­cle mar­ket is expect­ed to grow slight­ly in 2016, to just over 500,000 new­ly reg­is­tered units, up from pro­ject­ed reg­is­tra­tions of 498,000 units in 2015. Heavy-truck demand is fore­cast­ed to begin to weak­en in 2016, fol­low­ing years of ris­ing sales and weak­en­ing pres­sure to replace old­er vehi­cles, espe­cial­ly on-high­way trac­tors. Gains in the medi­um-duty seg­ments should off­set the expect­ed slip in Class 8 sales. That will be dri­ven by U.S. job growth and the hous­ing mar­ket­ing pick­up up speed. Look­ing at non-truck vehi­cles brings a slight­ly more pos­i­tive out­look to these vehi­cle class­es, with demand increas­ing for bus­es and motor homes.
  • The Wall Street Jour­nal report­ed that truck­ing com­pa­nies are buy­ing few­er vehi­cles late­ly as demand for haul­ing freight has soft­ened. That’s brought about job cuts by equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers and a large num­ber of big-rig trucks gath­er­ing dust on deal­ers’ lots. Heavy-duty truck orders plunged near­ly 37% in Decem­ber from the same month the pre­vi­ous year, accord­ing to data com­piled by indus­try research firm FTR.
  • Isuzu has gained from sales demand for medi­um-duty com­mer­cial trucks. Isuzu deal­ers sold 20,725 trucks last year, sur­pass­ing its old high for Isuzu truck sales in the U.S. There was a 10.5% gain in Isuzu N-Series sales dur­ing 2015. This out­paced the rest of the industry’s Class 3–5 sales through Oct. 2015, which were up 5% in the same peri­od. The com­pa­ny also sold 5.5% more parts in the U.S. than it did in 2014, once again top­ping the pre­vi­ous high for sales.


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