With our first two months of 2012 data locked up, we are predicting a strong quarter vs. quarter comparison vs. 2011.

For the first two months of 2012, the overall sleeper market was up $3268 (or 6.9%) vs. the same period of 2011. This increase is despite mileage 33,633 (or 6.1%) higher. Our rule of thumb remains in place – the market is tolerating pricing in the mid to high $40’s for trucks with mileage in the low to mid 500’s.

Four-year-old sleeper tractors were up $3114 (or 4.5%) in the same period. The 2009 model year is showing strength despite being the first full year equipped to the 2007 emissions spec. As we examined in a blog we posted recently, 2007 emissions level is not a hindrance to used truck buyers.

Retail sales per dealership were their strongest in well over a year, with February’s 7.5 trucks per dealership the highest since August of 2010. After a dip in the 4th Quarter of 2011, a sustained increase would be encouraging since it would indicate healthy organic demand not artificially influenced by changing tax laws or emissions regulations.

These pricing and volume trends indicate demand is as strong as ever for sleeper tractors with low to average mileage. Look for a more extensive analysis of this and other data in the April Guidelines, available early next week.