Rental Risk Unit Prices in September Reach Record High

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

Wholesale used vehicle prices remained unchanged between August and September, remaining at 126.9 for September, which is a 1.7% increase from a year ago, according to Manheim's September Used Vehicle Value Index.

The strength in wholesale pricing is the result of current and past increases in new vehicle transaction prices, according to Manheim. Additionally, higher retail used unit sales and stabilizing margins have kept dealers active bidders in the wholesale market.

Rental Risk Units

The average price of a rental risk unit sold at auction in September reached a record high of just over $17,000.  That record price was driven by lower mileage and a better mix of vehicles being sold in better conditions. As such, the index of rental risk pricing adjusted for mileage and broad market class shifts was down 1% for the month and year-over-year, according to Manheim.

At 37,100 miles, the average mileage of rental risk units sold at auctions was the lowest since November 2013.  Relative to mix, midsize cars represented a significantly smaller share of September sales.  Crossovers accounted for a much higher share, according to the index.

In the third quarter of 2016, vehicles with a grade of 4.0 or higher accounted for 42% of all rental risk sales.  In last year’s third quarter, vehicles in that condition accounted for only 34% of sales.

Pricing Trends

All major car segments had year-over-year price declines in September. Conversely, all major truck segments were up. For cars, the sporty segment was up significantly, while the SUV/CUV segment, small entry units were weak with a 4.4% decline and fullsize units were up 6.5%, according to Manheim.

A straight average of dealer-consigned units had a 2.7% increase in auction prices and a 1% decline in average mileage.  Commercially consigned units had the same 1% decline in average mileage, but only a 1.6% increase in average selling price.  A straight average of all auctions sales showed prices up more than 4% as a result of a higher share of commercially consigned units and a richer mix of vehicles, according to the index.

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