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It may be early April as we release this market update, but for sure the market overview is all solid facts and no tom foolery for dealers interested in motorcycle and powersports, the collectible and exotic cars, the recreational vehicles and the mother of all work markets, the medium and heavy duty trucks and commercial trailers.
Motorcycles and Powersports:
The powersports market is slowly but steadily inching its way upwards as spring finally arrives, not just on the calendar but with the actual weather. Just like the warm weather arrives a few degrees at a time, prices in the various powersports segments are gradually rising as well. The rate of increase is a little slower than normal, probably due to a still hesitant economy, but the overall seasonal trend is still upwards with one surprising exception.
First for the bad news, snowmobile prices have dropped substantially as expected. We mentioned that last month’s 2% decline would most likely seem minor when the latest auction results were in, and we were not wrong. With a drop of 6.5% during March for the April market guide for this segment, prices for sleds are definitely headed down, and fast. The lack of snow in many areas coupled with the end of winter means continued weak demand for these units till next fall.
The most surprising vehicles this month are the ATVs, which are down significantly. Prices for this segment are down 3.5%. ATVs normally increase in value at this time of year, but by smaller amounts than most of the street and off-road motorcycle segments. Stay tuned next month to see whether this is a one-time adjustment, or part of a larger trend.
Personal Watercraft and Jet Boats are not surprisingly up by 1.4% this month. With warm weather on the way, prices for these units should be headed even higher next month.
For the majority of street bikes, cruisers, scooters, and off-road bikes, prices are up .9% to 1.3% depending on segment. While these increases are not large for the time of year, they do represent a continuation of the overall upwards pricing trends we have been seeing for the past few months, and should be taken as a good sign that dealers have confidence in stocking their showrooms as customers start to return in bulk at this time of year.
Collectible and Exotic Vehicles:
The spring collectible car auctions have replaced the winter events as the main topic of conversation among collectors and enthusiasts, and all of the news is good.
Black Book had personnel in attendance at the Atlantic City Classic Car Show and Auction and the Greensboro Auto Auction Classic Car Auction in Greensboro, NC. We’re happy to report that both events were very well attended, and that bidding was brisk.
The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance featured two auctions this year, hosted by RM and Gooding. These are both very high end, classy events, where the best of the best are sold. RM’s final sales figures came in at $26 million, and Gooding achieved just over $28 million.
Greensboro and Atlantic City were heavy on American cars from the 1950’s through the 1970’s, with a particular emphasis on full size classics and muscle cars. Amelia Island was all about vintage exotics and pre-war classics, where the top seller was a stunning 1935 Dusenberg SJ Convertible for $4.5 million.
For the third month in a row, RV values are doing what we expect them to, with both motor homes and towables increasing in value.
Motor homes came in at an average selling price at auction of $40,025, which is $1,663 (4.3%) more than the previous month’s $38,362. Towables, including travel trailers, fifth wheels, and camping trailers, rose to $10,691 from $10,022, for an uptick of $669 (6.6%). For reference, one year ago motor homes were selling for $41,659 and towables were $10,075.
We don’t have a crystal ball, but if you take a look at the graph, you can see that history tells us that prices will stay strong for another month or two as dealers continue to pick up units to stock their lots. Spring is the time of year that many of the large lenders choose to increase the level of offerings from their repossessions at auction, so if you have not been to one for a while, this is a great time to get out there, or hook up online, to see the widest selection of units.
Medium and Heavy Duty Trucks and Commercial Trailers:
The NTEA Work Truck Show and Green Truck Summit in Indianapolis was a big success with solid attendance. CNG was a big topic at the Green Truck Summit along with other alternative fuels. Fuel usage and cost is the biggest transportation expense and the discussion as to reduce fuel consumption and to better educate drivers on better driving habits to reach that goal was carried over into the Work Truck Show as well. On the floor we got see how some of the manufacturers are increasing fuel economy with their alternative fuel vehicles, hybrid technology and even solar power. It will be interesting to see how these products will affect the trucking industry in the future.
Now for some specifics into what is going on in the medium duty wholesale market. The downward movement for prices has carried on for the past month. Once again, the late model trucks are taking the bigger hit, at an average of around -$500. The older model years are also moving down, around -$175. A couple of contributing factors to the drop are 1: the lack of good product at auction because of owners holding on to the truck longer. With the trucks being held onto longer that brings up factor 2: those trucks, when they do make it to an auction have considerably more miles on them. We know that two major items of concern when buying a used vehicle is overall condition and the amount of miles. Until we see used trucks returning to the market with more reasonable miles on them and better condition, I think the prices will keep moving down, except when that unusual low mileage super nice truck rolls across the block.
The past decade has brought a myriad of change within the industry and especially within the Class 8 sector. During the past decade the trucking industry as a whole has dealt with emission mandates, and a devastating economic climate. Proprietary engines, smaller displacement engines, automated manual transmissions or manual transmissions are also some of the issues and choices they have had to make and the list keeps growing. All of this has had an effect on used truck values in the present and will going forward. Over the past decade when tracking the average wholesale values of 3-10 year old trucks some used truck values as reported from auction activity have almost doubled and even more than doubled. Heavy Duty Construction/Vocational Trucks and Tractors are 1.87 times higher, Heavy Duty Over the Road Tractors are 2.17 times higher and Heavy Duty Regional Tractors are 2.31 times higher today than ten years ago. Technology and regulations have raised new product pricing which has transferred to the used market as well. We will continue to monitor used heavy duty truck values and keep you posted on how they are doing.
The commercial trailer values have seen some changes in their retention values as we head into the spring market. Of the eleven trailer styles Black Book reports in the guide and data, three styles had very stable values with five styles increasing in value. The remaining three showed some strength as well as declines in value all depending on the age of the trailer. Another value to note is the ADD for “All Aluminum Construction” on the Flatbeds and the Drop Deck Flatbeds has been increased by $1000 for the April edition.