1Q used commercial registrations down, Polk reports

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Polk Used Trucks

Used commercial vehicle registrations (GVW 3-8) in the United States declined 26.7 percent to 164,024 units during the first quarter of 2012 as compared with the same timeframe in 2011, according to a Polk report released Wednesday, June 6.

“While used vehicle registrations remain strong, the long-awaited decline in used commercial vehicle registrations as seen in the past two quarters may indicate that a shortage of good, clean available units could finally be upon us,” said Gary Meteer, account director for commercial vehicle solutions at Polk.

In 2012, a record 791,288 used commercial vehicle registrations were reported, representing a 17.7 percent increase from the number reported in 2011. “With the first quarter complete, it is hard to believe that the total number of used registrations during 2012 will meet or beat the record levels seen in 2011,” Meteer said.

During the quarter, used commercial vehicles represented 55.9 percent of total commercial vehicle transactions in the market, compared to 70 percent during the first quarter of 2011. Together with 129,755 new registrations of GVW 3-8 vehicles over the same time period, total commercial vehicle transactions during the first quarter of 2012 were down 10 percent from the same quarter last year.

Used registrations for each of the GVW categories during the first quarter of the 2012 calendar year were lower than the levels achieved during the same quarter in the 2011 calendar year, with declines ranging from 46.4 percent for GVW 7 vehicles to a decline of 18.6 percent for GVW 3 vehicles.

“One of the most frequently watched and analyzed activities in the commercial vehicle market is the number of used registrations for GVW 8 vehicles,” said Meteer. The used registrations of GVW 8 vehicles were down 27.6 percent from the level achieved during the first quarter of the 2011 calendar year.

GVW 8 used vehicle registrations during the first quarter this year accounted for 39.8 percent of total used transactions compared to 38.6 percent last year and 47.6 percent and 41.2 percent respectively for the 2010 and 2009 calendar years.

Vehicles included in Polk’s analysis summary must meet two specific criteria – that both the business name and the business address on the vehicle registration must have changed from the previous owner. Additionally, the Polk analysis is based on information supplied from each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

“The Polk analysis does not indicate a lack of confidence in the used commercial truck market, but it does indicate that the continued growth experienced since the 2008 calendar year will in all likelihood not continue during the 2012 calendar year,” said Meteer.