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Which Regions Bring the Highest Price?

Posted by Richard Hayes on

The graph below shows the result of organizing NADA’s CY 2012 retail sales data for sleeper tractors into region. The analysis is an attempt to show the relative difference in value placed on trucks sold in each region.
For reference, the average sleeper tractor retailed in the US in 2012 was a MY 2007 aerodynamic truck with a large raised-roof sleeper, just over 450HP, and a 10-speed manual transmission. That truck sold for $49,086 and had 547,881 miles.

We adjusted for mileage and model year differences between region, but there are a few factors to consider:
First, trucks sold in the CA and Desert Southwest regions were notably newer than those in other regions. In fact, there were no sleeper tractors older than MY 2005 reported sold from either region. This is most likely due to the stringent emissions requirements for trucks operating in that region. Our age adjustment came into play here, but this is still a factor to keep in mind.

Deviation from Average Nationwide Retail Selling Price All Sleeper Tractors Reported sold in CY 2012Second, trucks sold in the Mountain region tended to have a higher level of spec. In addition, this region represented the highest concentration of traditionally-styled owner-operator trucks. This factor is logical, given the need for higher-horsepower engines for trucks operating in mountain States. We did not adjust our results for specs.

Finally, you may note that the New England region is not represented in the graph. NADA does not receive a robust amount of sleeper tractor sales from that region. We are always looking to expand our network of reporting dealers. Anyone who wishes to report sales to us is invited to contact cvisser@nada.org.

In sum, the actual dollar variance between the highest and lowest regions would likely be lower if every possible variable was accounted for. At the same time, we are confident in the relative rankings of each region as they stand.


Can Technology Address The Truck Driver Dilemma?

Posted by Richard Hayes on

The driver shortage is one of the most compelling issues facing fleet managers and company owners. Recently the ATA predicted that over the next decade we will need close to 100,000 new truck drivers a year to replace those who are retiring or leaving the industry.

Bob Costello, chief economist for the ATA produced the following graph illustrating the potential shortfall over the next ten years of 239,000 drivers. Notice the gap continues to widen over time.

ATA November 2012 Truck Driver Shortage Update

Source: ATA November 2012 Truck Driver Shortage Update

There are many reasons cited. Among these are:

Pay not good enough to be frequently away from home
Tougher regulations imposed by the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) Program
Stricter Enforcement of Hours of Service requirements
The “Big Brother“ effect of in-cab technology
We probably cannot do too much about the safety regulations getting tighter and even though some may disagree on how these regulations are enforced, particularly with the Hours of Service requirements, I don’t think anyone disagrees with the concept of safer drivers. We are all striving to create a safer trucking industry with safer professional drivers.

So let’s focus on the other two points – more compensatory pay and creating a positive impact of technology on the driver. That is something that fleets as well as we, the technology providers, can potentially influence.

A running theme in my blog posts lately had been the impact of the “mobile revolution” on businesses in general and specifically to the trucking industry. As I discussed in my last blog, the providers of in-cab technology like Qualcomm, XRS and PeopleNet are recognizing that the smart phone and/or the tablet adds an entirely new dimension to mobile communication by allowing mobile communication systems to not only be vehicle based BUT driver based as well.

One only needs to look at UPS and FedEx drivers to see a model for professional tech-savvy drivers who are comfortable with driver based systems.

Current smartphone technology creates an environment where all trucking companies can have access to technology that previously only big well-funded carriers had. Cameras, document imaging, signature capture, web access and email on a smartphone in the driver’s hands can create significant efficiencies for the trucking company – transferring responsibilities that were previously in the office to the driver. At the same time, driver based communication systems should be family friendly allowing the driver to communicate with his family and feel more connected both to his company and to his family while he is on the road.

I am optimistic and believe the “mobile revolution” can be an asset in attracting safer, responsible, tech-savvy drivers in the new economy. Those carriers who will successfully recruit and retain these drivers will be those that:

Bring the drivers into the technology discussion
Connect vehicle based technology with driver based technology
Make the driver an integral part of your IT system
Pay them well and justify it with increased efficiencies
Make Mobile Communication systems family friendly
We, as technology providers, owe it to the fleets we serve to help them use technology to attract drivers not to push them away. Fleet owners and managers are our partners in addressing this very serious issue.