September’s retail results were basically a carbon copy of August’s. Pricing dipped mildly, due to a combination of a few large packages of higher-mileage trucks sold and natural market movement. A healthy number of check-writers continued to visit dealers’ lots in September.
The average sleeper tractor retailed in September was 69 months old, had 469,858 miles, and brought $42,066. Compared to August, this average sleeper was one month older, had 9,382 (2.0%) fewer miles, and brought $24 (0.1%) more money. Compared to September 2019, this average sleeper was identical in age, had 12,747 (2.8%) more miles, and brought $10,183 (19.5%) less money.
Looking at trucks two to five years of age, September’s average pricing was as follows:
- Model year 2019: $92,061; $172 (0.2%) higher than August
- Model year 2018: $72,178; $2,010 (2.7%) lower than August
- Model year 2017: $51,133; $2,193 (3.7%) lower than August
- Model year 2016: $39,011; $481 (1.2%) higher than August
Month-over-month, late-model trucks brought 2.8% less money. In the first nine months of 2020, pricing averaged 15.5% lower than the same period of 2019. Depreciation in 2020 is averaging 2.8% per month, identical to the previous two months.
Unlike the auction market, 3rd quarter 2020 retail results are still behind the same period of 2019. This is because retail pricing held up better than auction pricing in the 2nd half of 2019, resulting in tougher comparisons on the retail side. We’re now in the period where we’d expect some market softening due to uncertainty around the Presidential election combined with the lack of a renewed stimulus package. However, freight markets are still hot at the time of this writing, so those headwinds haven’t manifested yet. At this point, no one is pretending to be able to forecast all the possible economic and societal variables that could affect consumer spending, so we're sticking with our existing assumptions, which include some downside risk.