September saw substantially higher volume than August, and pricing was generally higher, espeically for newer trucks. We now know pricing increased every month in the 3rd quarter. See below for average pricing detail for our benchmark truck.
- Model year 2017: $51,542 average; $10,033 (24.2%) higher than August
- Model year 2016: $32,228 average; $918 (2.9%) higher than August
- Model year 2015: $25,775 average; $920 (3.4%) lower than August
- Model year 2014: $20,000 average; $755 (3.9%) higher than August
- Model year 2013: $17,171 average; $2,057 (10.7%) lower than August
Month-over-month, our benchmark group of 4-6 year-old trucks brought 10.1% more money. In the first 9 months of 2020, pricing averaged 12.4% lower than the same period of 2019. However, if we narrow the comparison to the 3rd quarter of both years, 2020 beats 2019 by 16.7%. Thanks to this year’s 3rd quarter recovery, our benchmark truck now shows an average monthly price gain of 3.0% per month in 2020. Looking just at the 3rd quarter, trucks gained an average of 6.0% per month.
There was a large increase in volume of model-years 2015 and 2016 trucks sold. The fact that pricing remained stable for both years points to healthy interest. Demand for newer trucks is evident in the extremely strong result for model-year 2017 trucks. As we predicted last month, pricing strength is no longer limited to trucks with low mileage. Even average-mileage trucks are seeing price improvements at this point.
Consumer spending and inventory buildup remain the main drivers of freight volumes. Inventory buildup should eventually scale back as corporate targets are met, but consumer spending should remain strong assuming there are no major disruptions to economic conditions. The Paycheck Protection Program, the CARES Act, and other stimuli have scaled back – possibly only temporarily – but unemployment is steady to mildly improving. Employment will be one of the most important indicators to watch going forward. If the numbers hold steady or better, consumer spending should remain strong.