Used Truck Deals Still Near Record Levels

SOUTHFIELD, MI — U.S. Transactions of used commercial vehicles in the gross vehicle weight (GVW) 3-8 categories remained near record levels for the 12-months ending March 31, according to new figures from the vehicle industry analysis provider IHS Automotive.

Overall, used GVW 3-8 transactions from March 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 accounted for 51.7 percent of total GVW 3-8 transactions in the U.S. market.

During the same 12-month period, used transactions of 724,600 units were 6 percent above the previous 12-month period and trailed the most recent record level of 733,800 units by just 1.3 percent, which ended March 2011. At that time, used transactions accounted for 65 percent of combined GVW 3-8 vehicle transactions.

“The balance of supply versus demand plays heavily into the level of used transactions during a given period,” said Gary Meteer, director, commercial vehicle solutions at IHS Automotive. “Today demand for used GVW 3-8 equipment is extremely strong and availability is limited. The limited availability of clean 2009, 2010 and 2011 model-year equipment results from the significantly low demand for these vehicles when they were new.”

Another reason for the uptick in used transactions is the high percentage of new transactions accounted for by large fleets operating 500-plus units — 34 percent in the 2014 calendar year and 36 percent in the first quarter of the 2015 calendar year, according to IHS.

It said this increase among new registrations for large fleets is a sign that demand and confidence are up, business is good and that it will continue.

Traditionally, these large fleets fuel the used truck market when they purchase new trucks because they typically trade out the older models, especially GVW 8 units, according to IHS. These clean, older models are taken out of service and moved to the secondary market where smaller companies purchase them.

The number of used transactions for GVW 3-8 vehicles by quarter has moved in a rather narrow band of between 150,000 to 200,000 units since the end of the recession and the market’s recovery, according to IHS. Used transactions were especially strong during the recession as availability of clean, lower priced (pre-emissions increase units) used units were available, especially pre-2007 models.

“There will always be demand for clean, used trucks in the secondary market,” Meteer said. “The availability is the result of strong demand for new equipment resulting from a good economic outlook and the availability of equipment resulting from the registration of new equipment three to five years earlier.”

Used transactions traditionally run counter to new registrations during down periods. During periods when new registrations strengthen, used transactions remain strong though their share of total transactions traditionally declines, according to IHS. While large fleets account for the largest share of new transactions, once the vehicles go into the secondary market, small fleets account for more than 45 percent of vehicles in operation for GVW 3-8 vehicles.

“We estimate the level of used transactions in the 2015 calendar year will approximate 725 thousand, an increase of 2 percent from the level achieved during the 2014 calendar year,” Meteer said.

If that happens, 2015 would represent the second-best year for used transactions since used transactions started to be collected.

“In addition, used transactions will remain tight due to availability, or the level of demand for used vehicles could go as high as 750 thousand,” Meteer added.

New commercial vehicle registrations during 2008-2011 were at their lowest levels in the past 20 years. As a result, their availability in the used market now is extremely limited, especially GVW 8 vehicle, according to the HIS analysis.

The report also noted that of all Class 3 to 8 vehicles, used commercial vehicle registrations in the 12 months ended March 2015 were strongest for GVW 3 vehicles as they accounted for 31.1 percent of total used transactions and were up 8.6 percent from the comparable 12-month period a year earlier.

GVW 8 used transactions were up 3.8 percent from the comparable period a year earlier and they accounted for 37.7 percent of total used transaction versus 38.5 percent a year earlier.


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