The volume of late-model trucks sold in March was similar to February, although dealers sold incrementally more trucks in total. On an apples-to-apples basis, individual trucks are showing moderate depreciation.
The average sleeper tractor retailed in March was 69 months old, had 467,319 miles, and brought $55,808. Compared to February, the average sleeper was identical in age, had 3,209 (0.7%) more miles, and brought essentially identical money. Compared to March 2018, this average sleeper was two months newer, had 5,140 (1.1%) more miles, and brought $7,321 (15.1%) more money.
Looking at trucks three to five years of age, March’s average pricing was as follows:
- Model year 2017: $82,804; $7,037 (7.8%) lower than February
- Model year 2016: $67,908; $4,138 (5.5%) lower than February
- Model year 2015: $57,332; $915 (1.6%) lower than February
On a year-over-year basis, late-model trucks sold in the first three months of 2019 brought 10.6% more money than in the same period of 2018. On average, trucks in this age range depreciated 3.3% per month in the first quarter of 2019, compared to 2.5% in the same period of 2018. 2.5-3% depreciation is in line with historical trends. Keep in mind selling prices rebounded a bit in April of last year, which could potentially happen this year.
Looking forward over the long term, deliveries of new trucks will remain strong into the second half of 2019, but demand is closer to being met. The big question is how many trucks the industry will need overall in 2019 compared to last year. If the answer is a similar amount, the impact to used truck values will be manageable. If the answer is notably fewer, conditions will change rapidly. Keep a close eye on the freight markets in upcoming weeks for any sign of change.