Wholesale Used Prices Decline 0.6% in December, Reports Manheim

Price changes for selective market classes for Dec. 2013 versus Dec. 2012. Courtesy of Manheim.
Price changes for selective market classes for Dec. 2013 versus Dec. 2012. Courtesy of Manheim.

Wholesale used vehicle prices (on a mix-, mileage- and seasonally adjusted basis) declined 0.6% in December. According to Manheim Consulting, the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index reading was 121.7 in December, which represented a 1.9% decline from a year ago.

The relative strength in wholesale pricing (down only 4.8% from an artificially boosted high in May 2011 and down only 1.8% on an annual average basis in 2013 despite higher wholesale supplies) is largely due to retail. Retail used unit sales are strong, margins are narrow but stabilizing and efficiencies have been enhanced by both increased productivity and higher throughputs per store, says Manheim.

In December, new vehicle sales were positive with respect to future used vehicle residuals. Inventories were a tad high but better than November, and manufacturers are responding with some production adjustments, says Manheim.

According to CNW, total used unit retail sales rose more than 4% in December, bringing the full-year total to just under 42 million. December’s gain was led by an 11% increase in sales by franchised dealers, who continued to benefit from a higher volume and higher quality of trade-ins, says Manheim. For independent dealers, there was a 4% increase in December unit sales after showing a 5% gain in November.

The average auction price (mix- and mileage-adjusted) of rental risk units sold in December was 2% lower than its year-ago level. With some sellers de-fleeting early and others holding off until the seasonal price rise at the beginning of the year, unit volumes sold in December were low, according to Manheim.

December Used Vehicle Index courtesy of Manheim.
December Used Vehicle Index courtesy of Manheim.

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