Used Vehicle Market Conditions
Wholesale prices continued to climb to new highs in September and early October, as supply remains tight and demand high. Retail used vehicle sales softened modestly in September, but CPO sales have remained strong, as these vehicles represent the closest substitute to new vehicles lacking in availability due to the chip shortage.
According to KAR Global Analytical Services’ monthly analysis of wholesale used vehicle prices by vehicle model class, wholesale prices in September averaged $15,546, up 5.7% compared to August, up 20.3% relative to September 2020, and up 39.4% compared to pre-COVID/September 2019. Prices rose for all model classes. Car prices, on average, rose at a higher rate than truck prices. Overall average prices are now more than 50% above pre-COVID averages for this select group of vehicles, with car segments outperforming SUVs and pickups.
Based on NADA data, retail used vehicle sales by franchised and independent dealers in September were down 3.9% month-over-month and down 0.3% year-over-year. Year-to-date through September, sales are up 11.0% versus 2020 and up 1.8% compared to 2019/pre-pandemic levels. CPO sales were up 2.3% from the prior month and up 1.5% versus last year, according to figures from Autodata. On a year-to-date basis through September, CPO sales are up 10.4% compared to last year and up 2.7% versus 2019.