The dramatic increase in selling prices that began in late 2009 looks to have reversed course in August, with the trend continuing to the present.

The first graph below illustrates this observation. In the benchmark four-year-old segment, average mileage has been essentially flat since May, while pricing has decreased. This relationship suggests the market may have found ceilings on pricing for this segment. In addition, average mileage for this segment did not reach the same heights as last year. It’s possible that the market has absorbed a good portion of the trucks that had been kept in service longer than usual, and is starting to adjust back to a more typical age and mileage mix.

The second graph shows how the newest model years are responsible for the bulk of the depreciation in our averages. This behavior is expected, given the increasing numbers of 2010’s and 2009’s in the marketplace over time. However, decreasing prices combined with flat mileage is evidence that the market has established limits.

At this point, pricing is now following a mild downward direction, in line with what we would expect in a period of unusually-conservative business investment driven by political uncertainty. Fundamentally, the low supply of desirable iron will insulate the market from shifts in demand. Expect more of the same until the first quarter of next year.

Look for a complete analysis of this data late this week in the November edition of GuideLines.