ACT Research: Used Class 8 Truck Retail Sales Pulled Back 23% in April, Suggesting Softening Demand

ACT Research Co.
3 min readMay 30, 2023

According to the latest State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3–8 Used Trucks, published by ACT Research, used Class 8 retail volumes (same dealer sales) declined 23% m/m in April. Average mileage declined by 1%, with average price down 8% and age up 3%. Longer term, average volumes, price, and miles were lower, with age flat y/y.

a graph showing the month-over-month and year-over-year comparisons for used Class 8 truck retail metrics for April 2023
ACT’s Used Class 8 Retail Summary — April 2023

“Same dealer Class 8 retail truck sales slowed in April, pulling back 23% from March. While sales normally decelerate in April, the decrease was greater than the expected 8–10%,” said Steve Tam, Vice President at ACT Research. He continued, “With inventory on the rise, and more importantly, not a limiting factor for sales, the logical conclusion is that demand is softening. This is a plausible explanation, especially given waning economic and freight conditions.”

“Examining each of the channels individually will shed light on how other indicators are faring. Near-term channel results reveal the usual pullback from the quarter-end spike in auction volumes. After spiking 93% m/m in March, auction activity shrank 45% m/m in April. Wholesale transactions improved, jumping 72% m/m,” he added. “Combined, the total market fell 28% m/m in April.”

Tam concluded, “As the year progresses, the year-to-date scenario also continues to diverge from last year. The overall market extended its lead to 5% ytd. Despite the early lead, we believe that truckers’ appetites for used equipment will be curbed as freight volumes continue to contract. Our best estimate suggests that inventory continues to increase, supporting buyers working to refresh their used truck fleets.”

ACT Research State of the Industry: U.S. Used Truck Classes 3–8

ACT’s Used Classes 3–8 report provides data on the average selling price, miles, and age based on a sample of industry data. In addition, the report provides the average selling price for top-selling Class 8 models for each of the major truck OEMs — Freightliner (Daimler); Kenworth and Peterbilt (Paccar); International (Navistar); and Volvo and Mack (Volvo). This report is utilized by those throughout the industry, including commercial vehicle dealers, to gain a better understanding of the used truck market, especially as it relates to changes in near-term performance.

ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

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ACT Research Co.

ACT Research is the leader in commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis, and forecasting services for North America.