Data reported to NADA by dealers and OEM’s show that the average sleeper tractor retailed that month for $48,724, had 542,347 miles, and was 77 months old. Compared to the previous month, these figures were $1095 (or 2.2%) lower on price, 3830 (or 0.7%) higher on mileage, and identical in age. Year-over-year, January, 2013 was $1174 (or 2.4%) higher on price, 322 (or 0.06%) lower on mileage, and 4 months (or 3.9%) older.

On the wholesale side, the average sleeper tractor sold at auction or dealer-to-dealer in January brought $23,798, had 715,346 miles, and was 88 months old. Compared to the previous month, these figures are $1499 (or 6.3%) higher on price, 43,940 (or 6.1%) higher on mileage, and 5 months (or 5.4%) newer. Year-over-year, January, 2013 was $12,851 (or 35.1%) lower on price, 134,061 (or 18.7%) higher on mileage, and 22 months (or 25%) older.

As you can see from the graph, the retail market is much more stable than the wholesale market. Since the 3rd quarter of 2012, average retail pricing has remained in the high-$40K range, and mileage has remained in the mid-500K range. There has of course been price movement within specific mileage and age segments, but in general these results point to a market with a consistent supply/demand relationship.

The wholesale market has fluctuated more dramatically each month, with average selling price dependent on the mileage and age mix of trucks available in a given period. The sample size of wholesaled sleepers is smaller than the retail sample, so we look at multi-month trends to form our judgments. Doing so tells us that the wholesale market is trending mildly downwards, due mainly to a pool of trucks with increasing mileage. There is still a strong negative correlation between mileage and price, so that dynamic has not changed appreciably. But we will likely see our averages trend downwards as higher-mileage trucks are increasingly the only game in town.

As always, look for an in-depth analysis of these and other trends in our next edition of Guidelines, available the second week of March.