Installation rates for Automated Manual Transmissions (AMT’s) have increased dramatically in recent model years. Improved offerings, increased industry comfort with the technology, and the need to attract new drivers are responsible for the increase. How has this shift on the new side translated to the used market? 

We looked at all of our 2014 retail sales data for aerodynamic sleeper tractors for the past five model years and calculated the percentage of trucks sold with those transmissions. See the chart below for detail.

Volume remains extremely low except for Volvo. For the past few model years, the majority of Volvos spec’ed with the D13 have been backed by the company’s proprietary iShift. It is no surprise, then, that this proportion would be reflected in the used market. 

Other makes have been less successful marketing vendor automateds behind their proprietary engines, although Freightliner did see some acceptance of the DD15/UltraShift combination. 

As for trucks powered by an ISX, the majority are still backed by a manual on the new side, although this proportion has decreased. Cummins and Eaton recently announced the SmartAdvantage partnership, pairing an ISX 15 or ISX12 with the Eaton Fuller Advantage transmission, with the goal of providing performance and economy similar to proprietary offerings. But these units won’t show up in the used market in notable numbers for at least two years.

Individuals and small fleets who purchase used trucks are less impacted by the driver shortage than the large fleets which purchase new trucks. Also, reliability and repairability on the road are of more critical importance to the used truck buyer.  As such, interest has been slower to ramp up. On the other hand, these concerns have greatly diminished with the newer generations of AMT’s. As such, we consider the limited number of used trucks sold with automateds to be due as much to supply as demand. As installation rates continue to increase, we expect similar volume increases on the used side.

As for used pricing, we examined that data earlier this year, although positioning has likely shifted since that study was done. As always, the option adjustments found in our valuation products reflect our current interpretation on that data.