Used Commercial Vehicle Transactions Remain Strong in the Final Quarter, Drive 2015 to Second Best, IHS Says

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 1:24 pm EST


"The main issue is the availability of clean commercial vehicles, those with reasonable mileage, correct equipment, and available at a fair price, in the used market."

Used commercial vehicle transactions of GVW 3-8 vehicles were just over 176,000 units during the last quarter of the 2015 calendar year, up 14.3 percent from the same time period in 2014 calendar year. Additionally, used commercial vehicle transactions accounted for 50.7 percent of total vehicle transactions in the quarter, according to a new report from IHS Automotive, part of IHS, Inc. (NYSE:  IHS) and a leading source of critical information and insight to the global automotive and commercial vehicle industries. 

Strong used truck transactions during the quarter pushed used transactions for the full calendar year to 755,109 units, the second best calendar year total since IHS started keeping records of used transactions in 2005. Used transactions in the 2015 calendar year were 6.2 percent better than the 2014 calendar year and represented 51.4 percent of commercial vehicle transactions. Used transactions in the 2015 calendar year were only 4.6 percent (46,179 units) below the record level of used GVW 3-8 transactions reported during the 2011 calendar year, according to IHS analysis.

“One of the anomalies in the commercial vehicle market is that large fleets register the majority, with 74.1 percent of new registrations; while 78.4 percent of the vehicles in operation on the highway are operated by fleets of less than 500 units,” said Gary Meteer, director, commercial vehicle solutions for IHS Automotive. “The main issue is the availability of clean commercial vehicles, those with reasonable mileage, correct equipment, and available at a fair price, in the used market.”

“Using GVW 8 vehicles as an example, during the 2008-2010 timeframe, there were 365,000 new GVW 8 vehicles registered, today there are only 313,000 of these vehicles still operating.  Since these are the prime model years for vehicles to be replaced by large fleets, there is not an abundant supply of vehicles filtering into the used market,” Meteer said.

With the continued high level of new registrations to fleets operating more than 500 units, the trade backs provided by these large fleets provide a ready source of used commercial vehicles that are highly desirable to small and mid-size fleets. 

However, the main challenge continues to be the location and configuration of the used trucks that are made available for small to mid-size businesses that need these units to either replace older equipment or add equipment to their fleet.

When used commercial vehicle transactions are combined with new registrations, 2015 represented a record level of commercial vehicle activity. In the calendar year, 1.47 million commercial vehicle transactions occurred, exceeding the previous record of 1.37 million unit transactions in 2014 by 7.1 percent.

As with new commercial vehicle registrations, GVW 3 and GVW 8 vehicles have the highest level of used transactions, at 244,000 units and 272,000 units respectively in 2015, according to IHS analysis. Used transactions of GVW 3 vehicles were at a record level in the 2015 calendar year and used transactions of GVW 8 vehicles were at one of the top three calendar year levels.

Used commercial vehicle transactions for all GVWs are shown below for the 2015 calendar year. 

Used Commercial Vehicle Transactions

January-December 2015 versus 2014

(VIN Based GVW)


2015 CY



vs. 2014 CY

2015 CY

GVW Share (%) of Total





























Source: IHS Automotive 

IHS has been providing commercial vehicle data to the industry for decades and has new registration data for trailers back to the 1985 calendar year. IHS Automotive solutions for the commercial market include forecasting and analysis, and other solutions to help business owners make critical decisions. Further analysis on the commercial vehicle industry 2015 is available in the recent report on the market available on our web site.


About IHS Automotive (

IHS Automotive, part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), offers clients the most comprehensive content and deepest expertise and insight on the automotive industry available anywhere in the world today. With the 2013 addition of Polk, IHS Automotive now provides expertise and predictive insight across the entire automotive value chain from product inception—across design and production—to the sales and marketing efforts used to maximize potential in the marketplace. No other source provides a more complete picture of the global automotive industry. IHS is the leading source of information, insight and analytics in critical areas that shape today’s business landscape.  IHS has been in business since 1959 and became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, USA, IHS is committed to sustainable, profitable growth and employs approximately 8,600 people in 32 countries around the world.

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