With the last of our “late reporter” dealer sales data in our database, we can look at complete July results.

Looking first at volume, this last group of reports pushed the average retail sales per dealership back up equal to March, in a tie for second-highest volume of the year to date. As we’ve repeatedly said, sales volume will fluctuate depending on number of trucks entering the secondary market in a given month. A sustained upward trend would be nice, and based on increased new truck sales volume it would be logical to assume this will be the case – but with fleets increasingly bypassing the dealer network, that assumption is not a sure thing.
On the price side, there was an unexpected leap upwards of $2500 in average retail price of all sleeper tractors under one million miles. Mileage was lower by about 8000, which in this climate probably had no impact on price. The population of trucks reported sold was slightly younger on average, but only by two months. However, this decrease was driven mainly by an increased number of 2010 model year trucks sold, which could partly explain the price jump. Still, it would not be at all illogical to attribute the increase largely to continued strong demand in the face of constrained supply.
Focusing more sharply on the four-year-old sleeper market, here we see an equally-unexpected drastic drop of about $3500 vs. June. One factor at work here was a massive leap upwards in mileage of about 28,000. Also at work was a somewhat larger than usual mix of trucks with lower than average specs. In addition, as stated before, it is possible that the newer trucks are starting to hit a bit of a price ceiling. 60-$65K is a lot of money to pay for a truck with over 400,000 miles, and it may be enough to push some buyers to new trucks (or a lease). At the same time, pricing of newer trucks continues to blow away the last four years.
Look for a complete, expanded analysis in our September edition of Guidelines late next week.