Low Gas Prices Contribute to Strong SUV, Luxury Vehicle Prices

November wholesale used vehicle prices displayed a continuation of the recent trend toward a richer mix of late-model vehicles, which have biased average prices upward, according to the latest Kontos Kommentary from ADESA Chief Economist Tom Kontos.

Nevertheless, retail used vehicle sales — especially for certified pre-owned vehicles — provided demand-side price support at a time when high off-lease volumes and trade-ins from strong new vehicle sales could have pushed average prices down, says Kontos.

According to ADESA Analytical Services’ monthly analysis of Wholesale Used Vehicle Prices by Vehicle Model Class, wholesale used vehicle prices in November averaged $9,862 — up 1.8% compared to October and up 1.1% relative to November 2013.

Full-size SUVs and luxury cars and SUVs registered strong month-over-month gains, according to ADESA. Low gasoline prices may have contributed to this result.

Prices for used vehicles remarketed by manufacturers were up 4.1% month-over-month but down 8.1% year-over-year, according to ADESA. Prices for fleet/lease consignors were up 0.3% sequentially but down 2.1% annually, while prices for off-rental “risk” units within this segment held up well considering the unusually high volumes of these vehicles that are being remarketed this late in the year. This could be due to the curtailment of sales for selected off-rental program vehicles until after the new year.

For dealer consignors, there was a 1.4% increase versus October and a 1.5% increase relative to November 2013, indicating the wholesale market is readily absorbing excess dealer trades.

Based on data from CNW Marketing/Research Retail, used vehicle sales in November were up 3.7% month-over-month and 0.7% year-over-year.

And based on figures from Autodata, sales of certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles were down 4.7% versus October and were up 9.3% from the prior year.

Wholesale Used Vehicle Price Trends     
  Average Prices ($/Unit)     Latest Month Versus:  
  Nov-14 Oct-14 Nov-13 Prior Month Prior Year
Total All Vehicles $9,862 $9,688 $9,750 1.8% 1.1%
Total Cars $8,609 $8,470 $8,531 1.6% 0.9%
Compact Car $6,783 $6,895 $6,675 -1.6% 1.6%
Midsize Car $7,669 $7,534 $7,950 1.8% -3.5%
Fullsize Car $7,596 $7,787 $6,555 -2.5% 15.9%
Luxury Car $12,166 $11,613 $11,973 4.8% 1.6%
Sporty Car $12,573 $12,316 $12,002 2.1% 4.8%
Total Trucks $10,841 $10,568 $10,198 2.6% 6.3%
Mini Van $8,150 $7,882 $7,740 3.4% 5.3%
Fullsize Van $10,686 $10,705 $9,669 -0.2% 10.5%
Mini SUV $12,477 $12,490 $11,471 -0.1% 8.8%
Midsize SUV $7,825 $7,635 $7,039 2.5% 11.2%
Fullsize SUV $11,695 $11,104 $11,194 5.3% 4.5%
Luxury SUV $18,854 $17,985 $19,130 4.8% -1.4%
Compact Pickup $7,388 $7,320 $7,223 0.9% 2.3%
Fullsize Pickup $12,898 $12,834 $12,231 0.5% 5.4%
Total Crossovers $11,981 $11,924 $12,760 0.5% -6.1%
Compact CUV $10,877 $10,643 $11,143 2.2% -2.4%
Mid/Fullsize CUV $13,088 $13,175 $14,344 -0.7% -8.8%

This Kontos Kommentary analysis is based on nearly six million annual sales transactions from more than 150 of the largest U.S. wholesale auto auctions, including those of ADESA as well as other auction companies. ADESA Analytical Services segregates these transactions to study trends by vehicle model class.

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