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 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 , 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 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.
  • 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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