The 2018 market for used heavy trucks is expected to be the hottest it has been since 2015. Trade cycles are being compressed by larger fleets that had started keeping trucks a little longer and with a few more miles over the past 3 years. As these larger fleets go back to traditional trade cycles the market will see large quantities of used trucks at lower miles than previous years. The market equilibrium on used trucks will take a few months to stabilize as demand catches up with supply. Expectations are that price stability will come in late summer or early fall.
Another trend is a dramatic increase in Automatic transmissions hitting the used market. Currently the Volvo I-Shift enjoys an excellent reputation and brings a price premium over traditional manual transmissions. However, the 2018 trade cycle will see a drastic increase in I-Shift transmissions for Volvo trucks. Additionally, the Freightliner D12 automatic transmission began production in 2014 model years but saw a dramatic increase in 2015.
The price premium in Volvo I-Shift is expected to drop significantly due to the larger supply. In fact the I-Shift should be as large as 60% of the trade market, effectively eliminating the price premium seen over the past several years.
That is not expected to be the case for the Freightliner D12 transmission. Because of the overall lack of supply, the market should command a significant premium over traditional manual transmissions in the Freightliner brand.
Kenworth, Peterbilt and International still use the Eaton Ultrashift as the primary automatic transmission. The market shows that it is usually seen as a deduction in price against manual. However, 2018 model year saw a change in the traditional Ultrashift transmission and therefore a different market and brand recognition.
Overall prices on used trucks should decline over 2017 levels due to the much larger than expected supply via larger trade-ins. However, Automatic Transmissions will seen an even bigger decline due to the oversupply, unless of course it is the Freightliner D12, in which case the market will still command a premium.