As predicted, retail sales per reporting dealership were down substantially in June from recent figures. In fact, we need to go back to the very early stages of the trucking recovery – specifically, January of 2010 – to find a lower figure. Dealers turned in 4.6 retail sales per rooftop in June, which is a decrease of 1.9 trucks – or 29.2% - vs. May. 

This decrease is notable, but keep in mind the market has paused one month in the late spring each of the past three years. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, May was an unusually slow month, showing a steep drop vs. April only to recover in June. Specifically, May, 2010 showed a 17.6% drop, May, 2011 showed a 21.7% drop, and May, 2012 showed a 22.7% drop. See graph for detail.
 
 
It is possible that this late spring “pause” is a natural market condition, with truck users digesting business results of the first half of the year and focusing on moving freight in the summer months. 2013 would then be unusual only in that the slow month occurred one month later than usual.
 
We have not yet fully analyzed June’s pricing, but informal analysis does not point to any notable decrease. Final numbers will be published next week.
 
On the wholesale side, auction volume dropped dramatically in May, with a 25.2% decrease vs. April. This measure represents an additional negative market factor, suggesting that dealers needed fewer trucks to sell retail. However, there is no mathematical correlation between auction and retail volume, so we can’t state that there is a direct relationship. Further, the May decrease followed an unusually strong April, and recovered to an extent in June. As such, auction data supports a late spring market slowdown, but not necessarily a change in market dynamics going forward.
 
In view of this data, we expect July sales volume to recover to an extent. We do not expect notable change in pricing. Watch this space for final June numbers next week.