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Kontos: January Wholesale Prices Rise 6.7% YOY

February 28, 2017

CARMEL, Ind. — Wholesale used-vehicle prices in January averaged $10,945, a 6.7% increase from a year ago and a 2.8% rise from the perior month, according to ADESA Analytical Services.

In terms of average price, trucks outperformed cars on a year-over-year basis, whereas cars outperformed trucks on a month-over-month basis.

“Considering the increased supply of used vehicles wholesaled in January, used-vehicle prices held up surprisingly well, despite soft retail demand and high new-vehicle incentives,” said Tom Kontos, KAR Auction Services chief economist.

Looking at average wholesale prices on a year-over-year basis, average truck prices rose 7.4% to $12,990. Wholesale car prices rose 3.9% to $8,867. This healthy rise, ADESA noted, was driven by year-over-year increases in average wholesale prices for every vehicle segment.

The smallest price increase came from the compact car segment, which realized a 1.6% year-over-year rise in it average wholesale price. Prices for this segment grew to $6,639 in January of this year, compared to $6,531 in the prior-year period. Recording the largest year-over-year gain were minivans, which realized a 30.1% rise in average wholesale price. Average prices for minivans spiked from $7,141 in the year-ago period to $9,289.

On a month-over-month basis, car prices grew 3.4%, while truck prices rose 2.7%. The truck segment’s relative weakness on a month-over-month basis was partly attributed to the full-size SUV/CUV segment seeing a 4.6% price drop from December to January.

“All model classes showed month-over-month and year-over-year price gains except full-size SUV/CUVs, whose prices declined relative to December but were up year on year.  The extreme year-over-year gain in minivan prices was driven by a change in mix favoring younger, pricier minivans, which exaggerated the increase,” noted Kontos.

This trend — year-over-year gains mixed with month-over-month declines — mirrored what manufacturer remarketing arms, according to Kontos. Average wholesale prices for used vehicles remarketed by manufacturers were up 1.4% year over year but down 3.4% on a month-over-month basis.

Average prices for dealer consignors were up 3.1% from a year ago and 2.5% from the prior month. Prices for fleet/lease consignors were up 5.1% year over year and 4.9% month over month. However, rental risk units showed year-over-year price declines, Kontos noted.

According to data from the National Automobile Dealers Association, both franchised and independent dealers experienced 4% and 8.1% increases in used-vehicle sales, respectively.. However, on a month-over-month basis, both channels sold 25% less used vehicles.

Certified pre-owned sales inched up 0.8% on a year-over-year basis. On a month-over-month basis, however, January CPO sales were down 17.1%, according to Autodata.

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