I occasionally hear comments from used truck professionals about how one valuation company or another claims to have “the best data” or “the best analytics.” I don’t know how other valuation providers or analytical firms analyze the used truck market, but I can certainly speak to NADA’s processes. 

Starting with auction data, NADA receives an automatic feed from Manheim and ADESA, which includes every truck they sell. We also monitor other national and regional auctions that do not provide us with a direct feed. In 2013, our database of auction records numbered 35,847. 

Some valuation providers stop there. NADA believes the retail side of the equation is equally important, since end user behavior indicates demand. To that end, we have cultivated a network of over 200 individual dealerships who report retail sales to us on a monthly basis. This data is net of overallowance, includes critical spec details, and generally includes VINs for verification. We also receive retail and wholesale data from OEM used truck operations. In 2013, our database of retail records numbered 19,142.

The end result is that NADA creates wholesale and retail values based on actual data from each channel – not just one side of the market.

Regarding analytics, due to the relatively low volume of used Class 8 trucks sold – and widely varying selling prices for trucks of identical year/make/model – healthy skepticism is wise when assessing any model, especially one created by someone new to the trucking industry. It is possible to quantify the impact of external factors such as expected supply, emissions regulations, and fuel pricing to assist with forecasting. But any model is only as good as the data that goes into it, and many entities - including OEM’s - have lost big betting on a model.

Finally, let’s discuss transparency. NADA publishes snapshots of incoming raw data twice per week in this blog. We also publish Guidelines, which is a deeper dive into what our data showed us and what we expect to happen in upcoming months. We put this content out there for free as a service to the industry, and to support confidence in our valuations. 

In sum, the proof is in the pudding. When choosing a valuation provider, compare published values to your market experience and ask detailed questions about sources of retail and wholesale data and methodology. If you’re not satisfied with the answers, you have your answer.