By on July 22, 2008

That thud you just heard is the sound of the used truck market hitting rock bottomIt sucks to be a Chrysler brand franchisee right now. Trucks and SUVs are piling up on lots as dealers try to come up with ways to clear the inventory before the '09 models start rolling in. They have their work cut out for them. At the start of July, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealers had a 160-day supply of Rams gathering dust. If that weren't bad enough, the stores have enough Nitros to last 143 days and enough Aspens to last a lifetime. I mean, 218 days. The Jeep Wranglers they couldn't keep on the lot just a year ago are now piled up 129 days deep. With an average of only 16 truck sales per Dodge franchise, 10 per Jeep franchise and four per Chrysler franchise in June, it may take them a while to dig their way out. But, as they say, misery loves company. Honda dealers are sitting on a 160-day supply of Ridgelines and Mitsubishi dealers are dealing with a 222-day supply of Endeavors. Nissan blows them all out of the water, though. If a 215-day supply of Xterras, a 229-day supply of Armadas and a 247-day supply of Pathfinders aren't enough, the "Lot Queen" crown goes to Titan: there's a four hundred eighty-nine (yes, 489) day supply of the Mississippi-made haulers sitting around. Blow-out clearance sales can't be far behind. 

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40 Comments on “It’s a Truck Buyers’ Market...”


  • avatar
    Neil

    Notice to Honda/Chrysler/Nissan:
    You’ve sold your ‘Titan’ and your manly ‘Ridgeline’ unabated until now.
    Now gas is $4 and the gullible public has been forced to do what only the Almighty Dollar could do: Buy a normal car.
    So where are these cars? Pushed to the back of the lot behind the rows of Suburbans and Tahoes.
    And where are the alternatives to gas power you said you were working on? Nowhere.
    I sincerely hope the $4 continues.

  • avatar
    plunk10

    My local Carmax already has a brand new Titan XE listed for somewhere in the $14,000 range. Its a great time to buy a new truck if you need one, though the best time to buy will be in December 2008 (if the Fed continues to buck the advice given and NOT raise rates)

  • avatar
    Orian

    Neil,

    Go look at Honda’s line up again. And they had the number 1 and 2 top selling cars last month.

    Chrysler and Nissan – not so much. Nor Ford and GM for that matter.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    I’d consider a truck, except that I NEVER want to have trouble selling any of my vehicles. I want my divestiture of any automobile to be almost as fast as throwing away an old pair of socks.

    I’ve used Carmax a couple times, and thought they were fair and fast. But the time may soon come where even Carmax won’t give you anything for a truck.

    If I lived out in the country and had a bigger vegetable garden and/or some livestock, it would be different. But I live in a subdivision with short driveways. I hate parking any cars on my driveway; I think it ruins the look of my nice house. I need a bigger house, more land, and a bigger garage, or maybe a barn!

    I’m not at a point where I’d consider buying a truck to keep for more than fifteen years; if I were, I’d just take advantage of current economic climate. At end of life, I’d just wash my hands and give it away or have it hauled away to the junkyard.

    But I still wouldn’t buy a GM truck, not even for banging about on the back forty. Too high maintenance in the long run.

  • avatar
    BKW

    Unabated?

    Titan sales never equaled 2004 when roughly 93,000 went out the door. Since then sales have dropped like a stone with roughly 85K in 2005, 65K in 2006. Dunno the figures for 2007 and later, but 2007 was worse…2008 will be much worse.

    The problem as I see it is, Nissan (Renault) has spent next to nothing advertising it….many ppl still think it’s made in Japan. The frogs have never figured out how the American market works.

    As someone who once spent over 35 years with FoMoCo, IMO the Titan is a better truck than the F150. I’ve owned both, the Titan wins hands down.

    It’s also better than the Chebbie and the GMC, far better than the Ram.

    The Tundra is prolly a better truck than all of them, but none of that matters now.

    Recent LA Times ads: 15K for an Titan XE King Cab, 16K for an XE Crew Cab, 14.9 for a Ram Quad Cab with a hemi, Regular Cab F150’s for 12.9.

    Used rental car returns ads: 12.5 for a 2008 Titan XE King Cab, 12.5 for an 2007 F150 Crew XLT, 13.5 for a 2007 Expedition XLT. All three of these (and more) are being sold by a local GM dealer who specializes in used rental car sales. The prices for these three have dropped over 3K in the past month.

  • avatar
    Bancho

    Honda’s not really hurting from this at all. They never put all their eggs in the truck basket.

    Nissan’s not in great shape though. The titan really hasn’t seen much improvement since it was released. If Nissan’s small cars were stronger contenders they’d be in better shape than they are. At least they have small cars though (yeah, I’m looking at you Chrysler).

  • avatar
    Robstar

    My offer is still open. Someone show me a truck that NEW, with warranty, I can grab for sub $10K otd and I will snag one. It must be rated to be able to tow at least 3000 pounds behind it.

    Anyone know of anything?

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    489 day supply! How is that even possible? How come Nissan didn’t react to the changing market. Does that mean that I will be able to buy my wife a “new” ’08 Nissan Titan for Christmas in 2009? Sorry, I’m just having a hard time understanding a 16 month supply of a vehicle.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Their best fix for this, if they can afford it, is to use cheap subsidized leases. With the credit crunch and poor economy, there’s just no other way to move the inventory.

    The automakers could hope that the oil bubble bursts before the end of the leases, and recoup some back end value if the market returns later. By selling them now, they are ensuring massive losses and heavy rebates up front.

    489 day supply! How is that even possible?

    Probably because the rate of sales plummeted very rapidly. Supplies are measured against recent month sales, so if sales tanked fast, the same amount of inventory becomes very high when measured on a per-day basis.

  • avatar
    prndlol

    I must admit i have enjoyed reading about Japanese trucks double digit sales drops. If only because they haven’t ever experienced it before.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    I can’t imagine how these bloated inventories and inevitable fire sale rebates will affect the used markets.

  • avatar

    I’m waiting for GMC dealers to start giving away new Sierra Denalis. If there’s a firesale I might pick one up.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I must admit i have enjoyed reading about Japanese trucks double digit sales drops.

    Will you enjoy it when the headlines show that these sales declines prove to be a blip on the radar for the transplants, but fatal or near fatal for the domestics?

    Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I’m upset b/c my lease on my truck doesn’t expire until June 2009. I’m hoping that the truck market is still this deflated by then. Yes I can turn in my lease early (getting offers from Chevy dealer) but that means I have to buy another Chevy – may not this time especially if I can pick up a Titan or Tundra on the cheap.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Robstar Says:
    July 22nd, 2008 at 10:53 am

    My offer is still open. Someone show me a truck that NEW, with warranty, I can grab for sub $10K otd and I will snag one. It must be rated to be able to tow at least 3000 pounds behind it.

    Anyone know of anything?

    Nothing sub-10K new, but around here you can get a new F-150 for 13,990 or a new Ram for 12,990, so, it is getting close.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Toyota dealer in Orange Pqrk, FL had a sign in red flashing letters that said “$6000 off brand new Tundras!”. That was over a month ago. I wonder what it is now?

  • avatar

    CSJohnston
    I can’t imagine how these bloated inventories and inevitable fire sale rebates will affect the used markets.

    Why buy a used truck for $12K if you can get a brand new one with about the same level of equipment and full warranty for not much more? Truck trade-in values will be next to nothing because they won’t be able to move the trucks after they take them.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Around Las Vegas, if you just graduated college AND joined the military, you can get a new F-150 for $9998.

    Add $1000 if you don’t meet those requirements.

  • avatar
    faverod

    How about the Nissan Frontier? My lease is going to expire on my 2005 Frontier and I’m planning on giving it back and re-leasing a 2009.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Apparently the market has already figured out the Titan is an orphan on its way to being a rebranded ChryCoBerus truck in the future.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    Why buy a used truck for $12K if you can get a brand new one with about the same level of equipment and full warranty for not much more? Trade-in values will be next to nothing because even fewer used trucks will be selling than are now.

    Frank,

    I totally agree, our local used market is dead slow already given the great deals on new vehicles (not just trucks and SUV’s) out there. This sounds as if it is going to get much worse before it improves. The question is how long, how painful and who’s left standing?

    Pretty much the raison d’etre for TTAC

  • avatar
    Robstar

    The cheapest I’ve seen is the ram 1500 at $14.7k out the door — about 47% more than I want to pay. If it got down to eve 10500 or 11k I might consider it. That 3k buys me the dual sport motorcycle I want.

  • avatar

    faverod
    How about the Nissan Frontier? My lease is going to expire on my 2005 Frontier and I’m planning on giving it back and re-leasing a 2009.

    Compared with their other trucks, Nissan’s doing OK on Frontiers – enough to last just 184 days.

  • avatar
    pharmer

    A truck is an extremely handy thing to have if you have an old house that you’re remodeling or a race car to drag around on a trailer. I have both, and my truck is a 2001 Dodge Ram 1500. It’s a 2 wheel drive, regular cab model with the long bed. I paid $2200 for it last summer, purchased from a Dodge dealer who used it as a parts runner since it was brand new.

    Sure, it’s got a ton of miles, but when the transmission finally does go (and since it’s a Dodge, it’s just a matter of time) I can haul it down to the local technical college and take my tax write-off. Until then, it is my beast of burden, happily hauling loads of tree branches, broken sheetrock, dirt, mulch, and my 18 foot car trailer.

    A truck is a tool. I never understood the attraction of them as a daily driver. They’re ungainly on the road, use lots of gas, and are no fun to try to park in the city. You should never pay more for one than you absolutely have to, given your needs. You’ll rarely get bitten too hard, since they use highly reliable, proven, and generally simple technology.

  • avatar
    seoultrain

    hmm, 489 day supply. Sounds like they have about 10 Titans left.

  • avatar
    tdoyle

    I’m not worried. I’ve got my F150. Until they tax these vehicles out of existence, I am keepin’ her.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I drive past a Dodge dealer every day. 4 months ago he had Ram trucks 4 rows deep. Now he has nothing but Chargers, and I mean nothing but. A friend bought a Ram there in January, got it for 12K off list price, 3 K below invoice.

    I could have traded a bicycle in on a Ram and they would have done the deal. But the Charger is far from economical and with fleet sales escalating the residuals are going to terrible.

  • avatar
    seoultrain

    Carsdirect is a pretty good indicator of what you can buy a car for.

    Nissan Armada:
    MSRP Price: $36,280
    Invoice Price: $33,105
    CarsDirect Price: $27,805

    Dodge Ram 1500 Crew
    MSRP Price: $31,555
    Invoice Price: $28,664
    Target Price: $20,014

    Oddly, they still have Wranglers at or above MSRP.

  • avatar
    Deepsouth

    Another problem that the local dealer faces is that the New truck or suv product is purchased by someone who MUST trade their big iron. At present, the customer can’t(meaning so much negative equity) or refuses to take what the current market allocates on the big iron they own. Meanwhile, week after week, at a local Manheim auction I see GMAC, Wells Fargo, and Chase and alike dump product into the market. This further erodes the resale of domestic product. Then the current owner feels insulted when you tell them current market value. Many run and literally stalk out of the showroom. The big truck will survive due to commercial needs. The large SUV is toast. Like many others on the retail front, I’ve never seen a market swing so dramatically and so quick.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    So, how long should I wait before I pick up that used Expedition I’ve been eyeing?

  • avatar
    WildBill

    OMG! I just looked at Cars.com and 2000 Expeditions in Central Ohio are going for half what they wanted a year ago (when I bought mine as a livestock trailer tower). I bought one year too soon, although I did get a years use out of it otherwise.

  • avatar
    Axel

    Oh, for $5K of disposable money. That’ll get you a 2002 I6 F150 with 100k miles. That kind of mileage on a Ford straight-six is nothing.

    In a year I might have that kind of money to blow, so let’s hope the $4 gas continues!

    Of course, I’d also want to buy something for it to pull :).

  • avatar
    windswords

    pharmer:

    “Sure, it’s got a ton of miles, but when the transmission finally does go (and since it’s a Dodge, it’s just a matter of time) I can haul it down to the local technical college and take my tax write-off.”

    Your friends at the technical college may be disappointed. The transmission in your Ram is not the A604 or even its improved/fixed version the 41TE/42LE. It’s a revised version of A500 and A518, which were derived from the venerable A904/A727, which have been rock solid trannies for years.

  • avatar
    86er

    Ah, the Torqueflite.

  • avatar
    gman37

    For giggles I got a quote on an 08 Ridgeline RTX (bottom of the trimline) just yesterday. One dealer offered 9K right off the sticker without me batting an eyelash. I can’t even imagine trying to unload one of these. It redefines negative equity.

  • avatar
    macarose

    Robstar, if you’re serious about that challenge Email me at newcarconsultant.com .

    It’s not just pickups and SUV’s that are biting the gas/recession bullet. I was recently quoted less than $30k for a Toyota Sienna with every conceivable option. Oh ok… it was a demo with 5k on it. But the final price I was given was nearly $5000 less than what I would have expected last year.

    A lot of folks here think that new is the best way to go right now. It’s not. Demos usually offer a far lower price and in virtually all cases, a better warranty.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    If you don’t mind buying something well maintained that is six or seven years old you can get an amazing bargain. Even better, just think how many trucks that will be scrapped when they need a transmission or transfer case. Those of us who consider a toolbox full of well used tools a source of pride will be able to score one of these for pennies per pound. Basically, it will be possible to drive a vehicle with the cost of gas being the only expense other than an occasional part.

  • avatar
    kjc117

    I saw a really nice 45K Tundra Crew on the lot this weekend. How much will the reduce it?

  • avatar
    davey49

    “I’d consider a truck, except that I NEVER want to have trouble selling any of my vehicles. I want my divestiture of any automobile to be almost as fast as throwing away an old pair of socks.”

    Just keep your car until it’s completely worthless and undriveable.
    Unfortunately for me by the time I make enough money to afford a nice truck they’ll be hot again and I’ll end up paying MSRP or maybe a $500 discount. I’d buy any truck tomorrow if I had the money for the payments. Don’t care about gas prices I drive less than 9000 miles per year.
    BKW- the problem with the Titan is there is no Regular cab base version nor HD version.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Macarose>

    I mailed you. If I am charged a $500 fee to find a car at the price I want, the new OTD is going to be $9500.

    Thanks!

    Rob


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