We fully expected the retail sleeper tractor market to show a notable decline in October, given the three full months of devaluation in the auction channel. However, that assumption proved pessimistic. The sleeper market as a whole turned in an almost identical performance to last month, coming in $59 higher at $59,853. The more critical 3-5 year-old benchmark group was down mildly, coming in $327 (or 0.5%) lower than last month.

Year-over-year comparisons are less positive. The sleeper market as a whole turned negative in October, coming in $1,231 (or 2%) lower vs. October 2014. The 3-5 year-old benchmark group has been running behind 2014 since May, and came in $3,138 (or 4.5%) lower in October. The increased number of late-model trades is responsible for the lower pricing in 2015. See graphs below for detail.

Retail sales volume looked more positive in October, both in terms of the number of trucks reported sold overall, and also at the dealership rooftop level. Dealerships sold 5.1 trucks per rooftop this month, compared to 4.7 last month. However, 2015 still lags 2014 notably, with rooftops retailing 9.9 fewer trucks in 2015 to date vs. the same period of 2014.

Dealers are sitting on more inventory, but retail buyers still appear to be in the market. We consider October a surprise on the upside for retail pricing, and will continue to monitor all channels very closely for changes in recent trends. Stay tuned here for results from the wholesale channel early next week.