Unlike the unexpectedly strong retail channel, the wholesale (auction plus dealer-to-dealer) channel performed flat to mildly downward in the first four months of the year. Volume was relaxed compared to the first quarter, which is typical for late spring.

3-5 year-old trucks continued to dominate the wholesale channel, representing 52% of our database. 2011’s and 2012’s are the highest-volume model years. These trucks generally feature mileage in the low- to mid-400,000 range, and sell in the high-$30,000 to high-$50,000 range. 

This wide range of selling prices is due to the continued outsized influence of the International ProStar in the wholesale channel, particularly of model year 2011. The proportion of ProStars has come down in 2015 compared to the last 6 months of 2014, but that model still represents more than a quarter of the 3-5 year-old trucks reported sold wholesale. That said, the ProStar’s pricing has been stable through the first 4 months of the year, with 3-5 year-old models averaging $31,744.

Looking at the market overall, the average age of trucks wholesaled through April has decreased by one month compared to same-period 2014. Newer trucks continue to enter the market in increasing numbers, but pricing has not increased dramatically compared to last year. The average sleeper tractor wholesaled in April for $35,651 and had 632,377 miles. This average truck brought $6,484 (or 15.4%) less money than April 2014, and had 5.5% more miles. The month-vs.month comparison is a bit misleading, though, as the first 4 months of 2015 are outperforming same-period 2014 by 7.6%

Our forecast of 2% monthly wholesale depreciation on average looks to be holding up. Since the wholesale channel is a relatively reliable predictor of retail results, May could turn out to be a mildly weak month. Stay tuned next week for more detailed analysis in the June edition of Guidelines.