The market has seen an interesting shift since the rebound in used truck prices began in late 2009. The average age of sleeper tractors sold in the wholesale channel has trended closer to that of trucks sold retail, while the mileage gap between the two channels has remained consistent.

Basically, older trucks that had sat dormant during the downturn are increasingly rare. Trucks now cycling through the wholesale market have been in more consistent use. Owners will continue to replace this iron with new (or newer) trucks as their financial position improves.

For reference, trucks sold retail brought an average of 74% more money than those sold wholesale during the period referenced in the graphs. If we look only at 2011, however, that gap drops to 56%. As I’ve outlined in previous blogs, price in the wholesale market has plateaued due to high mileage. So that retail to wholesale price gap shouldn’t shrink much more.

Stay tuned for further analysis of these dynamics in future blogs.