New on-lot inventory per dealer was up in Q4 and marks a new positive trend.  -  Logo: Work Truck Solutions/Photo: Canva

New on-lot inventory per dealer was up in Q4 and marks a new positive trend.

Logo: Work Truck Solutions/Photo: Canva

On Jan. 26, Work Truck Solutions released its new 2022 analysis of the commercial vehicle market.

Data for commercial vehicle (CV) sales compiled for 2022 confirmed much of what was anticipated, along with a few positive surprises, the company said in a news release. Average prices, availability, mileage, and days to turn confirmed the story of a supply chain devastated by a global pandemic. But a steady recovery was marked by four quarters of positive trends.

The first quarter of 2022 may have been the turning point in the health of the automotive supply chain, and the outlook for the coming year is for continued recovery, the company said, although likely at a slow pace as there are still supply chain hurdles to overcome. Availability of new vehicle inventory is a prime concern. 

Good news for 2022 was that new on-lot CV inventory per dealer was up 36% in Q4 compared to Q1.  Although the total numbers were still about half of what they were in Q4 2020, the averages reveal an upward direction throughout 2022, a trend unseen in the previous two years.

Used Work Truck and Van Takeaways

  • Used on-lot commercial inventory per dealer continued to skyrocket, reaching an all-time high for the past three years in Q4 2022 and marking a 144% increase over Q4 2021. 
  • The increasing availability of new work trucks and vans is influencing used vehicle sales and pricing. While the average price of a new CV reached a high of $53,162 in Q4 of 2022, the average price of a used CV declined in both Q3 and Q4 of 2022, representing an 8.3% drop from Q2 2022.

Reviewing days to turn (DTT) data revealed intriguing points.

  • Average DTT for used work vans and trucks increased mildly in 2022, suggesting that the higher mileage of the vehicles, coupled with slowly returning new inventory, likely meant buyers were attempting to hold out for new CVs when possible. 
  • Given that online buyers searched for new vehicles 19% of the time in Q1 2021, compared to 34% of the time in Q4 2022, the data appears to corroborate prospective buyers’ interest in new commercial vehicles.

“Analysis of 2021 through 2022 showed a consistent trend in searches for new and used vehicles,” said Aaron Johnson, CEO of Work Truck Solutions. “Although searches for used commercial vehicles outweighed that of new in every quarter, searches for new CVs trended up, while searches for used trended down. Clearly, the desire for new vehicles has not been washed away amidst inventory concerns; if anything, it has increased.”

Overlaying the increase in dealers’ new on-lot CV inventory with the reduced DTT— average DTT for new commercial vehicles was down 16% Q4 2022 compared to Q1 2022, and down a whopping 48% Q4 2022 versus Q4 2020 — suggests that pre-order sales are finally being fulfilled. Even though more new vehicles are arriving on dealers’ lots, they are moving faster than ever— likely pre-sold and sent out to be upfitted for immediate duty. This is a trend that will likely continue in 2023. 

“The automotive supply chain has undergone massive changes in the last 24 months,” Johnson added. “When new-vehicle inventory dried up, dealers needed a way to attract prospects beyond having a large inventory of work trucks and vans on their lot. Plus, OEMs have been pushing dealers to focus on pre-orders. Heading into 2023, we expect a combination of pre-orders and data-decision-driven on-lot inventory to be the way commercial dealers meet business buyer demand, and we look forward to continuing to develop solutions that help our customers take care of their customers.” 

Work Truck Solutions collects national data reflecting the customization of commercial vehicles after the chassis or van is manufactured by an OEM, which defines their unique commercial use case.

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