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NADAUCG: Wholesale Prices Fall More Than Expected in November

December 15, 2016

MCLEAN, Va. — Wholesale prices for vehicles up to eight years in age depreciated more than expected last month, falling 3.3% on a monthly basis. That’s more than double the 1.4% average drop recorded during November the past three years, according to the NADA Used Car Guide.

The month-end result was the market’s third worst performance in 2016, with the firm’s seasonally adjusted used-vehicle price index falling by 0.3% to 116.3. Losses for the moth were led primarily by luxury vehicles, with luxury compacts leading the way with an industry high of 5.1% decline.

“The lion’s share of monthly volume for the segment was comprised of 2013 and 2014 model-year units,” the firm stated in its monthly Guidelines report. “It is likely the 2013 model-year volume was comprised of three-year-old lease returns.”

Luxury mid-size utility and luxury compact utility prices performed only slight better, falling by an average of 4.3% and 4.2%, respectively. “Looking back, the pair experienced much smaller combined decline of 1.8% for the period over the previous three years,” the firm noted.

Luxury mid-size cars trailed closely behind; the segment experiencing a 3.9% pullback in prices. “Also quite a bit more than what’s typically seen during this time of the year, the segment’s previous three-year average for the period was only 1.5%,” the NADA Used Car Guide stated in its report.

“Losses for remaining luxury segments landed under the industry average for the month,” the firm added. “Luxury car large car prices fell by 3%, which matches the segment’s previous five-month average this year. However, luxury large car prices — like other luxury segments — were more significant than the group’s previous thee-year average decline of 1.8%.”

And after two consecutive months of 3.4% losses, luxury large utility depreciation slowed by nearly one point to 2.5%. “Looking back, the segment averaged losses of only 1.2% for the period over the previous three years,” the firm noted.

In the mainstream arena — with the exception of mid-size vans — segment losses were somewhat scattered, but all fell under the industry average in November. Coming off October’s 4.8% loss, mid-size vans experienced another sizable 3.6% price pullback in November.

“Last month’s result was the worst mid-size vans have performed during November since 2007, when losses reached 4.8%,” the firm noted. “This November’s result is also significantly worse than the segment’s previous three-year average of 2.1%.”

And after two straight months of losses averaging more than 4%, compact car and subcompact car depreciation slowed to rates of 2.9% and 2.6%, respectively. For context, small car losses averaged a lesser 1.9% over the previous three-year period, according to the NADA Used Car Guide’s report.

Compact utility and large car declines reached 2.4% and 2.3% in November, respectively. While compact utility losses were greater than the segment’s previous three-year average of 1.2% for the period, large car depreciation fell right in line with the group’s previous three-year average of 2.1%.

“Meanwhile, large and mid-size pickup trucks, as well as large utility losses, reached a combined average of only 1.8%,” the firm stated in its monthly report. “While losses for large pickups were still very low at 1.7%, this November’s performance was 0.9% worse than the segment’s previous three-year average of 0.9%.”

Through November, the NADA Used Car Guide’s used-vehicle price index was 4% below last year’s 11-month average. In depreciation terms, used-vehicle prices were 17.1% lower through November relative to 2015. For comparison, last year’s depreciation reached a much lower 13.9% over the course of the same period.

Mainstream level depreciation was led by subcompact cars. Prices for the segment fell by an average of 26% so far in 2016, while compact and mid-size car depreciation reached 21.2% and 19.4%, respectively.

“Truck and utility segment depreciation continues to rise with each passing month,” the firm stated in its report. “The trend, however, is still much lower compared to cars. As a result, mid-size pickup and large utility prices were down by 9.3% and 9.1%, respectively, through November. Large pickup prices were off by an industry low of 8.5%.”

Losses across luxury segments were similar to their mainstream counterparts, the firm noted, with depreciation ranging from 16.3% for luxury large utility to 20.1% for luxury large car.

Looking at December, the NADA Used Car Guide’s forecast has prices of vehicles up to eight year in age falling by 0.4% to 0.8% when compared to November. The anticipated decline is less than the 1.7% loss recorded for the month in 2015. Additionally, mainstream car, truck and utility prices are expected to fall by roughly 0.1% to 1% in December, while luxury segment losses are expected to be slightly greater at 0.9% to 1.5%.

“Looking forward, monthly losses are expected to be around 1% in January. They should increase through February into the spring market,” the firm noted. “While November’s used market performance was softer than expected, NADA Used Car Guide’s full-year 2016 forecast still expects prices to be down by an average of around 4% on an index basis from 2015.”

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