BLACK BOOKWholesale Prices, Week Ending October 16th

Wholesale prices rose again last week, across all reporting segments. This now marks seven consecutive weeks of overall market increases. Traditionally, values would be declining this time of year, but the lack of inventory continues to be the most common sentiment for the increased auction activity pushing values up.

                                          This Week     Last Week      2017-2019 Average (Same Week)

Car segments                       +0.67%        +0.65%             -0.45%

Truck & SUV segments      +0.58%       +0.52%               -0.39%

Market                                +0.61%       +0.57%             -0.41%

 

Car Segments

  • On a volume-weighted basis, the overall Car segment increased +0.67%. For reference, the previous week, cars increased by +0.65%.
  • All nine car segments reported gains again last week.
  • Mid-Size Cars increased for a ninth week in a row with a gain of +1.11% last week, an increase from the prior week’s +0.91%.
  • With the weather cooling, the Sporty Car (+0.34%) segment traditionally experience declines this time of year, but the segment increased for a third consecutive week. By comparison, this same week in 2019 reported a decline of -0.32%.

Truck / SUV Segments

  • The volume-weighted, overall Truck segment increased +0.58%, compared to the previous week’s increase of +0.52%.
  • All thirteen truck segments reported gains last week.
  • Seven of the truck segments reported increases greater than 0.50%, with Sub-Compact Luxury increasing by the most at +1.06%, marking the eighth week of increases for the segment.
  • Full-Size Pickups have now increased for twenty-nine out of the last thirty-nine weeks for an average weekly increase of +0.38%.

Weekly Wholesale Index

Calendar year 2020 ended with used wholesale prices at elevated levels. With economic patterns (including the automotive market) driven by the pandemic, normal seasonal patterns (e.g., 2019 calendar year) in the wholesale market were not observed for most of the year. We saw a similar picture in 2009, at the end of the Great Recession. Calendar year 2021 has not had typical seasonality patterns as the market has had rapid increases in wholesale values for the majority of the year. After reaching record heights at the end of June, wholesale prices began to decline at a rate higher than the typical seasonal decline through July and most of August. As we moved into the Fall season, wholesale prices began to show a positive movement once again and reached the highest point of the year last week, at 1.396.

The graph below looks at trends in wholesale prices of 2-6-year-old vehicles, indexed to the first week of the year. 

Retail (Used and New) Insights

  • Unfortunately, the production disruptions resulting from the chip shortage and other supply chain delays are continuing:
    • Ford closed one of their plants in Mexico last week. The facility is responsible for two of Ford’s most recent models to the market, the Bronco Sport and the Maverick.
    • Stellantis is already making plans for future output reduction due to the chip shortage, with the announcement of the reduction in shifts in the Spring of 2022 at their Ontario facility, which is responsible for minivans.
  • Toyota Announced cuts to their November output of 100,000 to 150,000 units, but believe the worst is over.
  • Ford is going to make it even easier for off-road enthusiasts to go from the showroom to the trails with the announcement of the Everglades edition to the Bronco line-up. Look for this adventure ready vehicle to be available next summer and come with a factory-installed winch and snorkel.

Used Retail Prices

With the proliferation of ‘no-haggle pricing’ for used-vehicle retailing, asking prices accurately measure trends in the retail space. Retail demand slowed down at the end of last year, and thus resulted in declining retail asking prices for the last several weeks of 2020. As demand rebounded, retail prices have lagged slightly behind wholesale prices, but March had an accelerated growth in retail prices. In April and May, retail prices picked up speed as demand accelerated, fueled by stimulus payments, tax season, and shortages of new inventory. In June, retail prices continued to rise at a slower rate. After strong increases during the Spring and early Summer, retail listing prices have increased to around 28% above where we started the year.

This analysis is based on approximately two million vehicles listed for sale on US dealer lots. The graph below looks at 2-6-year-old vehicles.

Inventory

Used Retail

Current used retail listing volume is about 17% below the start of the year. Used inventory is now starting to decrease again due to a slowdown of trade-ins and lease returns.

Days-to-turn for used retail listings have been increasing, as retail demand softened over the last month. The days-to-turn now sits just above 37 days, which is still lower than what is typically expected in a normal year.

Wholesale

Activity on the lanes continues to be strong, particularly on anything that is a late model year with low mileage. Not only are the big buyers active, but the rental companies have been seen actively seeking out inventory due to the lack of new inventory to replace their aging units.

The overall wholesale market for 2-8-year-old vehicles increased by +0.61% last week, and 0-2-year-old increased +0.59%, thus ending the streak of newer model years moving faster than older units.

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