In the Manheim Consulting Auto Industry Brief for April 2012, wholesale used vehicle prices (on a mix-mileage- and seasonally adjusted basis) rose for the third consecutive month in March.
The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index for March stood at 126.2, an increase of 1.6% from a year ago. Wholesale values were off only 1.3% from the record reached in May 2011.
Wholesale prices eased in early April and, because of a harder comp, were down from last April.
Off-rental: Record prices on higher volume.
Average auction prices for rental risk units hit a new high in March, and they continued to rise in early April. The number of units sold in March was up substantially from both February and the year-ago level.
Average mileage on rental risk units slipped back to 37,400 miles in March (and fell further in early April), down from more than 40,000 miles in February.
End-of-service fleet units: Record prices for popular products.
The mileage- and seasonally adjusted price for midsize cars coming out of fleet service hit a new high in March. Crossover units, which represent a growing share of the portfolio, also enjoyed record prices. Commercial fleet sellers have benefited from a portfolio mix that reflected their shift to fuel-efficient purchases in past years.
After high unit sales in February, commercial fleet volumes at auction slipped in March. Average mileage on units sold at auction was up marginally in March versus a year ago and the previous month.
Demand of fuel-efficient vehicles grows.
As is the case in the new vehicle market, wholesale demand has seen an ongoing shift to compact and midsize cars. Crossovers with fuel-efficient powertrain options are also performing well. This trend is a reflection of higher gas prices and long-term demographic shifts in the profile of used vehicle buyers.