Recently, manufacturers have been promoting the fuel economy benefits of the 6x2 drive solution. As you probably know, a 6x2 tandem has only one axle driven (as opposed to both in a 6x4), with a “dead” or non-driven 2nd axle.* This design eliminates the weight and friction losses of a driveshaft and second differential, contributing to fuel economy and load capacity.

The 6x2 configuration has been available for years, but until recently the take rate had been extremely low. Concerns about traction in slick environments was the main factor limiting demand. Newer offerings attempt to address this concern by working with the truck’s air suspension to automatically place more weight on the driven axle when the ABS and/or traction control system senses slippage.

Some of the more progressive fleets have taken a closer look at this strategy in recent years, and the take rate has incrementally increased. As such, the used truck market has started to absorb more 6x2 trade-ins. With this in mind, where do we stand on market data for used 6x2’s?

Unfortunately, the volume of these trucks in our 2015 retail and wholesale database is still essentially nonexistent. There have been a total of eight 6x2 trucks reported sold so far in 2015. Further, these trucks were models that are not typically high-volume even in 6x4 configuration. However, there were enough sales to draw an initial, rough comparison.

In the first case, we have three 2015 model-year trucks of identical year, make, model and spec. Two are 6x2’s, and one is a 6x4. Adjusting for mileage, the 6x2’s sold for about $14,450 less than the 6x4.

In the second case, we have ten 2013 model year trucks, again of identical year, make, and model, but with slightly different specs. One is a 6x2, and the rest are 6x4’s. Adjusting for spec and mileage, the 6x2 sold for about $11,500 less than the 6x4’s.

Since the volume in both cases is so low, plus the trucks sold at different times and from different dealerships, we do not necessarily consider the figures accurate representations of the market. At the same time, the results are a bit higher but not too far off from casual, rough, word of mouth estimates I’ve heard from dealers.

The true value of the 6x2 configuration will unfold over upcoming quarters, as more of these trucks are traded in and resold. As with most new technology, dealers currently buying and selling these trucks are likely placing conservative numbers on them, due to uncertainty and limited demand. Whether the value difference will shrink from our very early results will depend on the extent to which end users see value in the fuel economy and weight savings of a 6x2.

We look forward to receiving more of this data in upcoming months and ultimately arriving at a valuation judgment.

*The non-driven axle is technically a “tag” axle, since it assists in carrying weight. However, many people are more used to hearing this term to describe a drop axle in a construction or vocational truck, so use caution when using this term in the context of a 6x2.