Have you heard? Used trucks cost way less than they used to. As a matter of fact, per J.D. Power and Associates, the retail value of a used tractor in 2016 was up to 13 percent lower than it was in 2015. Auctioned trucks were even lower.
As trucks last longer, the supply of used trucks is expected to stay high. This means lower prices will continue throughout the year. Certainly, there is very little a fleet can do about the price of a used truck, but the way they spec their trucks can have a major impact on their resale value down the line.
Considering equipment has become far more specialized in recent years, modern fleets need to make purchases based on specific needs. They need to take into account the value provided on the front side. How much will they be able to get out of their vehicle once they have completed their intended life cycle?
Let’s take a look at each individual component to determine how it may fair when looked at through the lens of a changing resale environment.
When your truck has more aerodynamic components, you can expect it to reap less interest in the off-highway market. Although aerodynamic components are great for a number of reasons, traditionally styled trucks still command a far higher price over aerodynamic vehicles.
What this means is that up to 3 to 5 percent of the resale market is looking for square-nosed tractors. Still, if you are selling to a long-haul operator, aerodynamic trucks are key. It really depends on the market you expect to be selling to.
Air Disc Brakes
Ever since the NHTSA amended FMVSS No. 121, calling for a reduced stopping distance to 250 feet from 60 miles per hour, there’s a major case to be made for quality air disc brakes. These components offer reduced fade, longer life and consistent torque output.
More efficient braking from air disc brakes, when combined with lower maintenance and operating costs, make air disc brakes a fantastic option for used truck buyers. Still, air disc brakes continue to be standard on some vehicles but optional on others. How this impacts them on the resale market depends on how willing fleets are to invest in parts necessary to run different types of the technology.
As fuel economy standards and technological integration in trucking equipment continue to evolve, some fleets have begun spec’ing smaller engines in order to save on weight and cost. Still, there is a case to be made for big-bore engines in the long-haul highway segment.
That’s why it is important to consider engine size when assessing resale value. Small engines of 13 liters and under have a negative impact on resale value, oftentimes up to the tune of $3,000 or more.
There has been a steady trend towards adoption of automated transmissions in new trucks. The primary driver of this trends has been the decrease in the driver pool and the lack of skilled truck drivers able to handle manual transmissions.
For this reason alone, you can expect AMTs to fetch up to $2,000 more on asking price over a comparable 10-speed manual variant. One area where this isn’t true is in 18-speed manuals, which offer greater flexibility in different environments.
The Final Answer
Of course, we aren’t saying you should spec your vehicles specifically for resale value, but it is something to consider. Fleets continue to spec for optimal performance and reliability and there is nothing wrong with going that route.
Specs considered desirable on the secondary market are ones that allow a vehicle to be flexible for use in a number of different settings. The more specialized a tractor is, the less appealing it will be to a potential buyer looking for a good used deal.
In the end, it’s important that a fleet determines the balance of return on investment against potential resale value according to their specific needs.