Off-Rental Vehicle Prices Strong Despite Bleak Economic Backdrop

Prices for off-rental vehicles continued strong in July, although consumer confidence slipped and the U.S. economic recovery will face more severe tests before the economy gets back to its previous peak. That is according to the August 2010 Auto Industry Brief from Manheim Consulting.

As a result of low supplies, lower mileage, and a richer mix of models, the average price for a rental repurchase unit sold by the Detroit 3 hit a new high of more than $22,500 in July.

Rental risk units saw an increase in average price for the month and year-over-year.

As expected, the average mileage on a rental risk unit stabilized in July after declining in the first half of the year.

Considering the bleak economic backdrop however, the new and used vehicle markets performed well in July. The pace of new vehicle sales moved up modestly and dealer sales of used vehicles increased by 9 percent from a year ago. Although wholesale prices declined in July, they remain at historically high levels.

Wholesale used-vehicle prices fell for a second consecutive month in July. The magnitude and duration of the previous run up in wholesale pricing means that used vehicle values are still at historically high levels.

Additional news occurred on the plus side, however:

- July used vehicle retail sales were up 9 percent, including a 19 percent increase in certified pre-owned vehicles.

- July new vehicle sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 11.55 million compared to 11.1 million in the first half of 2010.

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