Rental Risk Units Fall to Lowest Prices in 3 Years

Price changes for selective market classes for February 2016 versus February 2015. Courtesy of Manheim.
Price changes for selective market classes for February 2016 versus February 2015. Courtesy of Manheim.

In February, wholesale used vehicle prices (on a mix-, mileage- and seasonally adjusted basis) declined at their fastest pace in more than three years. It brought the February reading to 123.3, a decline of 1.4% from a year ago.

February’s relatively steep decline in wholesale pricing resulted in the Manheim Index’s falling back to its long-term trend line. Given that the Index has been above-trend for 66 of the past 72 months, look for an extended reversal to cause lenders and lessors to reassess collateral risk and contract residuals, according to Manheim.

Manheim expects the adjustments will be modest, however, and, thus, the availability of retail financing will remain supportive to the used vehicle market in the near term.

A straight average of auction pricing for rental risk units fell to its lowest February level in three years, says Manheim. Prices were off 4.1% from a year ago, despite an 11.5% decline in average mileage at time of sale.

Manheim’s rental index that adjusts for broad changes in mix and mileage was down 5.5% from a year ago.

New vehicle sales into rental were up nearly 13% in the first two months of 2016, according to Manheim. Given indications that rental car companies are over-fleeted, Manheim expects this pace of deliveries to slow in the coming months and expects for the number of units entering the wholesale market to rise.

Luxury cars have outperformed the overall market in recent months, but on a year-over-year basis, they remain the second-weakest segment, says Manheim. Values for compact cars continued to fall, both in recent months and over the past year.

The total van market has a year-over-year decline in wholesale pricing, but it is all accounted for by minivans. Full-size passenger and cargo vans have a 2% increase in pricing over the past year, according to Manheim.

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