Wholesale used vehicle prices (on a mix-, mileage- and seasonally adjusted basis) increased in December, and the Manheim Index is up 1.5% from last December. It was the sixth increase in the past seven months, and it brought the December reading to 125.7 — its highest level since July 2011 and only 1.6% below the peak reached in May of that year.
On an annual average basis, the Manheim Index rose 1.2% in 2015, after a 1.5% increase in 2014. In 2012 and 2013, the Index declined by 1% and 1.8%, respectively. Four consecutive years with annual price movements of less than 2% represents the longest stretch of wholesale price stability in the Index’s 20-year history, according to Manheim.
In December, auction prices for rental risk units (adjusted for broad changes in mix and mileage) were up 0.9% from November but down 1.3% from a year ago, according to Manheim. The adjusted price series has remained in a narrow range for the past four years.
Average mileage in December (at 44,375 miles) was down from November and was also below its year-ago level, according to Manheim. December’s auction volume for rental risk units was down from last December’s very high level but full-year 2015 auction volumes were up.
Wholesale pricing for used pickup trucks eased in December, but that was after strength in recent years due to higher pricing in the new truck market, greater demand created by construction activity, low gas and diesel prices, and a wholesale supply that has grown slower than some other vehicle segments. On a mileage-adjusted basis, pickup prices have risen nearly 23% over the past three years, says Manheim.
Compact cars in December underperformed the overall market due to price competition on the new vehicle side and shifting consumer preferences. That segment was down over 7.2% in just the past year and 9.4% over the past three years, says Manheim.
Pricing for vans, especially cargo units, remained strong in recent months as it has for several years, according to Manheim. Luxury cars showed some strength in the month of December but are down for the year.