LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Depreciation rates on used vehicles are nearing levels not seen since the Great Recession, though the trend will soon reverse and likely lead to marginally higher losses for U.S. auto ABS, according to the latest joint vehicle depreciation report from Black Book and Fitch Ratings.

According to Black Book, both new- and used-vehicle markets are seeing positive growth after hitting a low of 10.3 million new-vehicle sales in 2009. As a result, depreciation has increased every year since 2011. Black Book projects new-vehicles sales to finish north of 16 million units this year and at least 16.5 million in 2015.

“As a result, annual depreciation levels on used vehicles will begin climbing to roughly 13% in 2014 and 15% in 2015,” said Ricky Beggs, Black Book senior vice president and editorial director. The Black Book-Fitch vehicle depreciation report is a joint venture by the two companies utilizing Black Book’s used-vehicle depreciation data.

Among the highlights from the latest report, auto depreciation is expected to rise above 13% in 2014. This level is still below the average pre-recession depreciation rate of between 15-18% annually. Fitch pointed out that rising interest rates, not likely to occur until 2015, can result in higher vehicle depreciation if this were to dent consumer demand for new and used vehicles.

In the auto lease ABS sector, rising supply from off-lease volumes in 2014 will contribute to higher depreciation in 2014, and pressure residual value (RV) losses. This is not expected to pose any material threat to overall asset performance nor outstanding ratings. In the rental car ABS sector, rental car company fleet depreciation rates will creep up, but will stay within the historical range of 1%-2% per month, depending on each rental car company’s fleet mix.  

Housing and service industries will continue to be a net positive for larger vehicle sales and retention levels, although trucks and later-model vehicles are exhibiting higher-than-normal valuation volatility.

To read the full report, click here.