Auction Prices Remain Stable in January Despite Unusually High Volume

By Chris Visser

Normally, January is a very slow month for auctions, with few sales on the calendar and buyers and sellers largely taking the month off. January 2024 was an exception. This month saw multiple events featuring units from a large fleet/leasing outfit and other sellers, resulting in volume for the month much higher than historically typical. Despite this high volume, selling prices for trucks with similar specs and mileage were not much different from December, lending credence to our observation from last quarter that devaluation in the auction lanes has largely played out.

Looking at late-model sleeper tractors, average pricing for our benchmark truck in January was:

  • Model year 2022: Insufficient data in January
  • Model year 2021: $59,175; $3,635 (5.8%) lower than December
  • Model year 2020: $50,025; $94 (0.2%) lower than December
  • Model year 2019: $29,020; $3,010 (9.4%) lower than December
  • Model year 2018: $25,035; $1,062 (4.4%) higher than December

As has been the case since the post-pandemic correction began in early 2022, there is an extremely wide range in mileage and quality of trucks sold at auction. This varied mix has made macro analysis more challenging, requiring more reliance on qualitative analysis. Fundamentally, we are spending a substantial amount of time weeding out trucks with unverified mileage, missing titles, and other anomalies. Also, the mileage adjustments used in this report may not always adequately compensate for wide swings in average mileage month-over-month. Our subscription products provide more detailed insight on individual truck pricing.

With that in mind, the group above brought 3.4% less money than in December, and 26.4% less money than January 2023 (comparing to model years 2020-2017 in that period). Values for the newest model years available in the marketplace remain just under the strong pre-pandemic period of 2018 in nominal figures, or about 18% less if adjusted for inflation. Current pricing is about 31% higher than the last market nadir in late 2019, or about 10% higher if adjusted for inflation.

Stay tuned for analysis of January's retail sales next week.

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