Used-Car Prices

Kontos says hurricane impact on off-lease prices is ‘over’

CARMEL, Ind. - 

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently described how much hurricane recovery is left to be completed — especially in Texas — KAR Auction Services chief economist Tom Kontos declared the wholesale price impact stemming from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma — particularly on off-lease units — is “over.”

According to ADESA Analytical Services’ monthly analysis of wholesale used-vehicle prices by vehicle model class, wholesale used-vehicle prices in January averaged $10,980, which is 1.6 percent higher compared to December and 0.3 percent higher relative to January 2017. 

Kontos pointed out that Prices increased at a higher monthly rate for cars than trucks, but were down on an annual basis.

“Wholesale used-vehicle prices started the year in the pattern that characterized much of 2017 in the months prior to hurricane season; namely, car prices tended to fall while truck prices provided a boost to average wholesale values,” Kontos said in his latest edition of the Kontos Kommentary that was distributed on Friday.

“In January, car prices continued to show year-over-year price declines, while truck prices did the opposite, but that situation is moving towards parity, as indicated by strong month-over-month increases in car prices,” he continued.

As he’s shared for some time now, Kontos offered extra details about fleet and off-lease units that are 3 years old and have less than 45,000 miles. When holding constant for sale type, model-year age, mileage and model class segment, prices were down on a year-over-year basis for both midsize cars and midsize SUV/CUVs. Car prices dipped by $43 to $11,513 while prices for those SUVs and CUVs dropped by $222 to settle $20,236.

“As anticipated in last month’s Kommentary, the ‘lift’ in wholesale prices from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, particularly for trucks, is over,” Kontos reiterated.

Kontos went on to mention that average wholesale prices for used vehicles remarketed by manufacturers in January softened by 3.7 percent month-over-month but rose 7.9 percent year-over-year.

He noted prices for fleet/lease consignors were up 4.1 percent sequentially but down 0.3 percent annually.

Finally, Kontos added that average prices for dealer consignors were down 1.7 percent versus December and down 0.6 percent relative to January of last year.

Kontos elaborated about the wholesale market in the video available here and at the top of this page.

ADESA Wholesale Used-Vehicle Price Trends

   Average  Price  ($/Unit)  Latest  Month Versus
   January 2018  December 2017  January 2017  Prior Month  Prior Year
 Total All Vehicles  $10,980  $10,804  $10,945  1.6%  0.3%
 Total Cars  $8,751  $8,502  $8,867  2.9%  -1.3%
 Compact Car  $6,698  $6,452  $6,639  3.8%  0.9%
 Midsize Car  $7,880  $7,651  $8,044  3.0%  -2.0%
 Full-size Car  $7,853  $7,551  $8,300  4.0%  -5.4%
 Luxury Car  $13,170  $12,959  $13,472  1.6%  -2.2%
 Sporty Car  $13,987  $13,846  $13,041  1.0%  7.3%
 Total Trucks  $13,074  $12,966  $12,990  0.8%  0.6%
 Minivan  $9,048  $8,891  $9,289  1.8%  -2.6%
 Full-size Van  $12,980  $12,619  $12,430  2.9%  4.4%
 Compact SUV/CUV  $10,680  $10,508  $10,762  1.6%  -0.8%
 Midsize SUV/CUV  $11,578  $11,148  $11,854  3.9%  -2.3%
 Full-size SUV/CUV  $14,648  $14,856  $13,715  -1.4%  6.8%
 Luxury SUV/CUV  $18,446  $18,711  $18,697  -1.4%  -1.3%
 Compact Pickup  $9,306  $9,209  $8,954  1.1%  3.9%
 Full-size Pickup  $16,190  $16,189  $16,039  0.0%  0.9%

Source: ADESA Analytical Services.

Recent wholesale price moves prove spring season is swinging into typical form


Pitchers and catchers already are on hand at spring training to get ready for the upcoming baseball season, and the auction world appears to be in spring mode, too.

Editors highlighted their latest Black Book Market Insights report showed a continuation of early spring season. Many car segments remained unchanged in their depreciation levels last week while trucks saw a larger price declines.

“Tax season demand is starting to show up at the auto auctions as lower value vehicles hold prices well,” said Anil Goyal, Black Book’s executive vice president of operations.

Volume-weighted, Black Book determined overall car segment values decreased by 0.23 percent last week, much better than the average weekly decrease of 0.47 percent in values spotted during the previous four weeks.

Editors pointed out that the compact car, subcompact car, midsize car and full-size car segments performed the best among all car segments with values holding still.

Again looking at volume-weighted information, Black Book indicated overall truck segment values — including pickups, SUVs, and vans softened by 0.43 percent last week, similar to the average weekly drop of 0.45 percent in values recorded during the previous four weeks.

Editors added the compact van, small pickup, full-size van, and compact crossover/SUV segments performed the best among all the truck segments.

Turning next to the highlights of what Black Book’s representatives stationed at more than 50 auctions heard in the lanes, perhaps dealers down in Texas are still trying to get their inventory back in order from Hurricane Harvey.

“Dealers are making more comments about the high prices at the auction but continue to pay up for the units that they need,” Black Book’s lane watcher in the Lone Star State said.

Out in California, the scene seemed to be somewhat similar with the representative sharing, “The activity in our market has been good and we’ve had some strong auctions.”

Moving to the Southeast, activity in one specific lane at a South Carolina auction attracted the attention of Black Book’s staff.

“The dealer lanes were slow as the sellers were holding their floor prices. On the other hand, the fleet companies were there to sell and were successful in doing so,” the lane watcher said.

Up in Michigan, dealers are on the hunt for bargains.

“Our market has seen a slight uptick. The strongest interest and activity has been in the vehicles under $10,000,” Black Book’s representative in Michigan said.

Finally in Pennsylvania, it appears dealers are eager for potential buyers to secure federal tax refunds.

“It’s been a difficult couple of months but more money in the consumers’ pockets will certainly be a positive influence on the market,” Black Book lane watcher in the Keystone State said.

After January dip, February price uptick projected

McLEAN, Va. - 

As analysts confirmed a dip in January, J.D. Power Valuation Services is projecting an uptick in wholesale vehicle prices in February.

According to the latest installment of Guidelines, J.D. Power Valuation Services is expecting that wholesale prices of vehicles up to 8 years old will edge higher by 0.3 percent. If the movement happens as predicted, it would reverse what analysts recorded last February, which was a 0.9-percent decline.

Analysts also reiterated their full-year forecast remains for prices to remain steady by the time 2018 closes when compared to how 2017 unfolded.

With regard to the opening month of 2018, J.D. Power Valuation Services indicated that January prices for those units up to 8 years old fell by an average of 0.6 percent. As a result, the J.D. Power Valuation Services’ Seasonally Adjusted Used Vehicle Price Index declined slightly as the reading settled at 114.2, which turned out to be a 0.5-percent dip.

What analysts called, “typical for this time of year,” January losses at the segment level were led by premium categories. They noticed wholesale prices for luxury midsize cars dropped by 3.1 percent year-over-year. This particular segment has been impacted by a boost in volume of 3-year-old units, primarily 2015 models such as the Lexus GS and Audi A6.

Volume is up 95 percent and 86 percent year-over-year, respectively, for those two particular high-line units, triggering price sags of 3 percent and 4 percent.

Two other premium segments posted notable price declines in January as prices for luxury compact cars tailed off by 2 percent and prices for luxury compact utilities softened by 1.8 percent.

“While slightly elevated, these losses were more in line with what typically occurs for the period,” analysts said in Guidelines.

“Remaining premium losses were scattered and more severe than the industry average for the month,” they added, while noting prices for luxury midsize utilities dipped by 1.3 percent and prices for luxury large utilities edged 0.9 percent lower.

Turning over to what J.D. Power Valuation Services classifies as the mainstream part of the wholesale market, analysts noted that, “While large pickup prices continue to be strong, the segment is showing signs of losing momentum.”

Large pickup prices dropped by 1.7 percent in January, stretching a streak of declines to four months in a row. One particular model — the RAM 1500 — helped to extend the downward stretch as volume for these trucks jumped 68 percent in January, causing a 3.1-percent price decrease.

J.D. Power Valuation Services also noted that prices for large utilities dropped by 1.7 percent in January, as well. Not far off that pace, midsize truck prices softened by 1.3 percent.

Conversely, prices for compact cars and subcompact cars produces the only price increases in January as the Guidelines report indicated they ticked up by 0.2 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively.

Closing the mainstream market discussion, analysts shared the prices for midsize vans sagged by 0.9 percent while prices for midsize cars edged just 0.1 percent lower.

Perhaps a spring surprise: Cars values holding up


Perhaps not to the surprise level of a woman being given an engagement ring on Valentine’s Day, but some wholesale market observers might slightly raise their collective eyebrow about current car prices.

Based on data generated during the early stages of the spring selling season, Black Book noticed that cars holding retention better than trucks.

According to this week’s Black Book Market Insights report, volume-weighted data showed overall car segment values decreased by just 0.20 percent, much better than the average weekly decrease of 0.58 percent in values over the previous four weeks.

Editors pointed out that the compact car segment performed the best among all car segments, with values holding still from a week earlier.

Again looking at volume-weighted information, Black Book determined overall truck segment values (including pickups, SUVs, and vans) decreased by 0.35 percent last week, slightly better than the average weekly decrease of 0.46 percent in values over the previous four weeks.

Editors mentioned the full-size crossover/SUV and full-size luxury crossover/SUV segments performed the best among all the truck segments.

“Market performance is the best so far this year with improving sales rates at auto auctions and tax-season vehicles fetching good prices,” said Anil Goyal, Black Book’s executive vice president of operations.

And speaking of sales rates, Black Book’s representative watching activity from the lanes of an auction in New York collected the observations of the operation’s general manager, who mentioned that trend, too.

“Our commercial accounts are selling at a high percentage and the volumes continue to be elevated,” the general manager told Black Book.

“Dealer consignment is the area that we continue to work on as our volumes have been dropping for quite a while. Overall we are experiencing sales in the 55-percent sold range,” the GM added.

Perhaps reinforcing the price metrics for cars, Black Book’s representative stationed in the Southeast shared anecdotes that could provide dealers more insight into what’s happening.

Out of Georgia, the recap was, “It could be a by-product of tax season, but the market is picking up on midsize cars. Overall, buyers are being selective and offering very low starting bids.”

And in Florida, the representative noted, “Rentals and off-lease vehicles sold well as did the clean older cars.”

Out West, the lanes are busy, too, as this anecdote from Colorado describes. “The market is much better than recent weeks. Trucks are performing well and the dealers are in a buying mood,” Black Book’s representative said.

The not-so-upbeat report collected by Black Book originated in Pennsylvania. The lane watcher said, “Retail has not been good for the last couple of months. It seems like this downturn is a result of escalating new-car prices along with the adverse weather conditions we have experienced.”

Car-value strength reflects approaching spring market


Black Book continues to see sprouts of the spring selling season germinate.

On this heels of updating its Used Vehicle Retention Index for January, this week’s Black Book Market Insights report showed some possible early signs of the spring selling season, with cars showing lower depreciation than trucks.

“It was a good week for mainstream car segments as tax season buying has begun with strong sales being reported at the auctions,” said Anil Goyal, executive vice president of operations at Black Book.

Volume-weighted, editors indicated that overall car segment values declined by 0.34 percent last week. In comparison, the market values for cars had decreased on average by 0.64 percent per week in the previous four weeks.

Among cars, Black Book noticed midsize car segment performed the best with values remaining nearly flat.

Again volume-weighted, editors determined overall truck segment values — including pickups, SUVs and vans — decreased by 0.50 percent last week, same as the average decrease of 0.50 percent per week in the previous four weeks.

Within the truck space, Black Book mentioned the full-size crossover/SUV segment performed the worst with values declining by 1.13 percent last week.

As Goyal referenced, dealers are starting to see retail activity improve, resulting in the need to go to the wholesale market to acquire necessary inventory.

In Indiana, Black Book’s lane watcher reported, “Higher quality vehicles continue to do well in all price ranges. Retail in our area has picked up a bit, which bodes well for a market climb.”

Another report out of the Midwest included similar themes as a Black Book representative shared, “The market is starting to make a positive move a little bit earlier than normal and should remain strong for quite a while.”

And in Pennsylvania, dealer also are seeing vehicles roll over the curb. Black Book’s auction attendee mentioned, “Several dealers indicated that business picked up last week, and judging by the quantity of buyers in the lanes and online this week I would have to agree.”

Moving to the South, Black Book’s other two reports from the lanes share more details about the approach of spring-market conditions.

From Florida: “Dealers were more aggressively trying to purchase inventory, but they were careful not to overpay.”

From Georgia: “We had a good sale today with a lot of activity in the lanes. Vehicles under around $12,000 were in the highest demand.”

Update on the specialty markets

As they do on a monthly basis, Black Book editors shared their assessment of the specialty markets. Here is the latest rundown:

—Collectible Cars: Black Book emphasized that January is considered a bellwether month for the collectible car industry, and “this year did not disappoint.”

Editors added, “Mecum got the ball rolling with nearly $100 million in total sales in Kissimmee, and the usual Arizona players kicked in nearly $250 million more.”

—Recreational Vehicles: Black Book reported RV values at auction, both motorized and towable, were stable last month, with changes of less than 2 percent.

—Powersports: Editors explained February brings a “mixed bag” to values in the powersports market.

After last month’s above average market performance for this time of year, Black Book noted only the cruiser and snowmobile segments exhibit gains for a second consecutive month.

—Heavy Duty: Editors mentioned the word in January that there was a shortage of trucks available to haul freight apparently caused an already volatile value trend to take an upward swing resulting in strong wholesale values.

—Medium Duty: Overall, Black Book noted the medium duty market stabilized during the last couple of months of 2017, and that trend continues for the first part of 2018.

Black Book index movement reflects transition to spring market


The first rendition of the Black Book Used Vehicle Retention Index for 2018 showed the wholesale market is heading into traditional cyclical pattern going into the spring.

On Monday, Black Book released the January index, which registered in at 113.1, marking a dip of 0.9 percent from the previous month. The December reading came in at 114.1.

Editors pointed out that the Index has now softened by 1.2 percent during the past 12 months.

The Black Book Used Vehicle Retention Index is calculated using Black Book’s published wholesale average value on 2- to 6-year-old used vehicles, as percent of original typically-equipped MSRP. It is weighted based on registration volume and adjusted for seasonality, vehicle age, mileage and condition.

Entering February, Black Book noted the market appears to be reaching typical depreciation levels following a few months of post-hurricane activity in the third and fourth quarters.

According to Black Book, overall the market is experiencing a 1-point decline, fairly uniform across roughly all segments, with near luxury cars pacing the biggest decliners at 1.8 percent and luxury cars close by at 1.6 percent.

“As we ended last year on a strong note with used vehicle values getting a lift due to hurricane replacement activity, we expected we a larger decline in January,” said Anil Goyal, Black Book’s executive vice president of operations, in the analysis.

“We anticipate stability in the Index values over the next couple of months as the spring selling season gets underway, and consumers shop with an appetite driven by the recent tax changes approved,” Goyal continued.

The index dates back to January 2005, where Black Book published a benchmark index value of 100.0 for the market. During 2008, the index dropped by 14.1 percent while during 2016, the index fell by just 6.4 percent.

During 2011, the index rose strongly from 113.3 to 123.0 by the end of the year as the economy picked up steam and used vehicle values rose higher. It continued to remain relatively stable, rising slightly until May 2014 when it hit a peak of 128.1.

To obtain a copy of the latest Black Book Used Vehicle Retention Index, go to this website.

Top 8 models to buy used & top 9 to purchase new


As veteran used-car managers and wholesale price watchers understand, oftentimes luxury units take quite a price tumble during the time the vehicle leaves the factory to when it might end up in a store’s used inventory. It all stems from that critical first year of depreciation.

The team at generated some fresh data to reinforce this believe by analyzing more than 6 million new and used models sold from Aug. 1 through Jan. 24, comparing the retail prices.

In the used-vehicle part of the study, found eight models had a price difference of at least 30 percent compared to the new-car price. As mentioned, most of these units are luxury sedans, according to the project available here.

“While the peace-of-mind associated with a new car may be worth a few thousand dollars to a consumer, it may not be worth tens of thousands of dollars, as is the case with these cars,” chief executive officer Phong Ly said in a news release.

Luxury vehicles dominate this list, with sedans by Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln and INFINITI. The top vehicle on the list, the Cadillac XTS, costs more than $20,000 less when bought used.

“Many luxury cars are leased by individuals or companies for fleet or management use and replaced with newer models, and this turnaround increases the number of used cars in the marketplace, causing a larger drop in price,” Ly said.

The non-luxury cars on the list are the Jeep Compass, Toyota Camry, and Kia Sedona.

“Although Jeeps tend to hold their value well, the Compass received widespread criticism for its performance and its lack of off-roading capabilities characteristic of the Jeep brand, which could partly explain why they’re cheaper to buy lightly used,” Ly said.

“Sales of the Compass and the Sedona were also higher in the last couple of years, so if consumers are dissatisfied with these cars, there may be a larger supply of them on the used car market, driving down used prices,” Ly continued.

“The Camry’s inclusion on this list can be attributed to the 2018 redesign, which updated the powertrain, improved the handling, and added new exterior styling, on top of new safety features. The improvements come at a premium, so when compared with new models one-year-old Camrys are much cheaper,” Ly went on to say.

Top Cars to Buy Used Over New
(By Percentage)
Model Percentage Difference
Used Over New
Dollar Difference
Used Over New
 1  Cadillac XTS  -38.7%  -$20,965
 2  Jeep Compass  -34.8%  -$9,652
 3  Mercedes-Benz E-Class  -34.5%  -$22,919
 4  Lincoln MKZ  -33.7%  -$14,328
 5  Cadillac CTS  -33.4%  -$18,170
 6  INFINITI Q50   -32.2%   -$14,654
 7  Toyota Camry  -30.7%  -$8,213
 8  Kia Sedona   -30.0%  -$9,682
    Overall Average  -21.1%  -$7,654 


On the new-car side, the latest study by found a few models can be purchased new for as little as $2,885 over the price of the previous year’s lightly-used version.

Site analysts identified nine new models that cost up to just 15 percent more than the gently-used version. When compared with the overall average of 26.8 percent, thinks these vehicles may provide better value when purchased new.

“It’s widely understood that new cars tend to lose a large portion of their value shortly after they’re driven off the lot, but these cars retain more of their value over the first year,” Ly said. “Instead of buying a car that’s been driven for one year, consumers can buy the new version for just a few thousand dollars more and take advantage of the latest and greatest technological and safety features.

“When spread out over the length of a car loan at an average of 5.5 years, the slightly increased monthly payments can be offset by the added warranty and dealer incentives,” he continued.

The nine models that have the smallest changes in price are popular models and are almost exclusively pickup trucks and SUVs. The notable exception is the Subaru WRX sports car.

“The WRX is a high-demand vehicle and it had a starring role in the 2017 box office hit ‘Baby Driver’, adding to its appeal,” Ly said.

The top spot went to the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, while a second Jeep model, the Renegade placed eighth on the list.

“Jeeps are known for retaining their value due to their durability and performance across all terrains,” Ly said. “Strong brand reputation is another key factor to aid in value retention, so it is no surprise that Toyota and Honda each have multiple vehicles on the list.”

Top Cars to Buy New Over Used
(By Percentage)
Model Percentage Difference New Over Used Dollar Difference New Over Used
 1  Jeep Wrangler Unlimited  8.9%  $3,199
 2  Toyota Tacoma  10.4%  $3,320
 3  Toyota 4Runner  12.7%  $4,605
 4  Nissan Frontier  13.3%  $3,180
 5  Honda Pilot   13.7%  $4,858
 6  Chevrolet Colorado  13.7%  $4,154
 7  Honda HR-V   13.8%  $2,885
 8  Jeep Renegade  14.1%  $2,897
 9  Subaru WRX   14.2%  $4,115
   Overall Average  26.8%  $7,654 


In summation, Ly asserted that the data from reinforces what dealers might already be seeing in their showroom or at the auction.

“This list reflects the current marketplace as demand for SUVs and pickup trucks are at record highs while demand for passenger cars is steadily declining,” Ly said. “The rising popularity of these car types could be attributed to steady gas prices.

“Whether consumers buy a brand new car or a lightly-used version of the same model depends on how much the new technology, complete lack of wear-and-tear, and the new car smell are worth to them,” Ly continued.

“For some models, these features cost only a few thousand more, while for others they cost tens of thousands more. Consumers should keep these comparisons in mind as they decide whether to buy new or buy used,” he concluded.

J.D. Power Valuation Services revamps price analysis to account for market behavior changes

McLEAN, Va. - 

Changing consumer behavior is forcing wholesale market experts to modify how they track pricing shifts.

While recapping what happened in December, J.D. Power Valuation Services shared its latest wholesale price expectations for 2018, along with what analysts suspect will happen when the January data becomes available.

According to the latest installment of Guidelines, J.D. Power Valuation Services projected that January wholesale prices for vehicles up to 8 years in age will soften by 0.5 percent to 1 percent.

Despite the dip projected for the opening month of 2018, analysts suspect that their full-year price projections will stay “relatively flat” when compared to 2017 movements.

Last year closed with J.D. Power Valuation Services — formerly NADA Used Car Guide — seeing average wholesale prices dropping by 2.3 percent. The movement left J.D. Power Valuation Services’ Seasonally Adjusted Used Vehicle Price Index at 114.8, marking a drop of 0.9 percent.

For all of 2017, the index fell 3 percent year-over-year, according to the report, which also shared the modifications J.D. Power Valuation Services made to its evaluations.

“Compared to earlier time periods, the last few years has shown a significant divergence in price behaviors between cars and light trucks,” analysts said in Guidelines.

“Trucks (CUVs, SUVs and pickups) exhibit different depreciation behaviors and different seasonal price variations, and the magnitude of these differences have grown over time,” they continued. “Because of this, we have separated the portion of the index calculation that account for depreciation and seasonal price variations into a calibration for cars and a calibration for trucks.

This allow for a more accurate accounting of these factors, which in turn allows for a more accurate accounting of the actual movement in prices outside of these factors,” analysts went on to say.

The modifications to the reporting touched on another aspect, too.

“In addition, a careful reassessment was made of the appropriate seasonal price variation assumptions in light of the reduction in observed seasonal peaks and troughs of the last two calendar years,” analysts said.

“The primary result of this assessment as it concerns recent price movements, is a reduction in the size of price movements in the seasonally adjusted series for the spring and fall of 2017,” they added.

After the explanations, J.D. Power Valuation Services turned back to its December data.

Analysts found the last month of 2017 produced losses at the level larger on average than historic norms.

Luxury utility prices fell by a “significant” 4.2 percent — a level 3 percentage points higher than what analysts spotted during the past five years. The trend was especially noticeable for model years 2014 through 2017.

A specific vehicle example J.D. Power Valuation Services mentioned was the Mercedes-Benz GL. As auction volume for these units rose 8 percent, prices dropped by 5 percent.

Analysts also noted that compact luxury utilities softened by a healthy figure in December, as well, sliding by 4.1 percent.

The two other luxury segments J.D. Power Valuation Services watches dropped by similar rates. Luxury midsize utilities dipped by 3 percent, and luxury midsize cars were off by 3.4 percent.

Over on the mainstream side of the market, the report showed large utilities paced the December decliners, dropping by 4.2 percent as large full-size units from General Motors took the brunt of that decrease. For example, analysts mentioned the 2014 Chevrolet Suburban fell by 8 percent, while the 2014 GMC Yukon XL decreased by 7 percent.

Analysts also spotted a 3.4-percent price decline for subcompact cars in December; a reading 2.4 percentage points higher than what they typically saw in the closing month of a year going back to 2012.

J.D. Power Valuation Services closed by pointing out that large pickups continue to “outperform the market” since prices for these units dipped by just 1.6 percent in December.

Truck and SUV demand heats up as spring selling season nears


Black Book’s latest wholesale price data and anecdotes from the lanes offered vivid details about what’s happening when clean trucks and SUVs roll over the block.

This week’s Black Book Market Insights report also indicated overall values are holding up well as the industry approaches the spring selling season.

“Lower mileage trucks and SUVs continue to be in demand. We are seeing consignors holding out for more money on their units to drive up prices," said Anil Goyal, senior vice president of automotive valuation and analytics at Black Book.

Black Book’s volume-weighted data showed overall car segment values decreased by 0.58 percent last week, better than the average weekly decrease of 0.69 percent in values over the previous four weeks.

Editors determined the midsize car segment performed the best, decreasing the least in value; just $10 or 0.13 percent. Meanwhile on the opposite end of the spectrum, they spotted sizeable declines for luxury cars ($163 or 0.93 percent), prestige luxury cars ($172 or 0.54 percent) and premium sporty cars ($247 or 0.63 percent).

Turning next to volume-weighted truck data, Black Book reported that overall truck segment values — including pickups, SUVs, and vans — decreased by 0.46 percent last week, slightly better than the average weekly decrease of 0.52 percent in values noticed during the previous four weeks.

Editors found that compact van segment performed the worst, decreasing the most in value among all the truck segments at $152 or 1.89 percent.

As Goyal references, the talk in the lanes is about how dealers are craning their necks at the sale if a gently used truck or SUV is being consigned.

Beginning in Massachusetts, Black Book’s observer said, “Overall the money was pretty good. Trucks, crossovers, and full-size SUVs all sold well.”

Over in Pennsylvania, the grip of winter is leaving a mark as the Black Book lane watcher shared, “New-car sales are still slow with the bad weather being a factor. Improving weather and a robust tax season will be welcome.”

In another cold-weather location — Michigan — sale activity seemed to be much warmer than the temperature outside as Black Book’s representative stated, “Michigan dealers are stocking up on inventory but out of state buyers are making a lot of the on-line purchases due to the high demand in their market.”

Sliding South to the Sunshine State, Black Book’s report out of Florida indicated, “Buyers at the auction are purchasing only what they need. They are mainly looking for trucks and SUVs with good miles."

Finally, like the price of fuel, the higher costs when the hammer fell in California took more out of dealers’ pockets and floor plan as Black Book noted, “Not enough quality vehicles available to meet the demand, so prices remain high.”

Signs of spring market starting to appear in the lanes


While more than a week remains in January, dealers might already be venturing into the wholesale market with spring on their minds, hoping retail sales increases bloom nicely.

What managers are going to have to pay for inventory varies based on the latest analysis from Black Book and RVI Group.

The December figures from RVI Group showed five vehicle segments generating year-over-year value upticks of at least 1.7 percent. Multiple segments were connected with units more popular when weather is more favorable. The rundown included:

—Sports car: up 2.3 percent
—Luxury small sedan: up 2.1 percent
—Full-size pickup: 1.9 percent
—Luxury full-size sedan: up 1.9 percent
—Sporty coupe: up 1.7 percent.

However, RVI Group also found that there were six vehicle segments that saw their values soften by at least 1 percent. Should these units turn in your market, RVI Group mentioned these segments as possibilities for lower acquisition costs for possible higher margins:

—Luxury coupe: down 4.2 percent
—Sub-compact: down 3.3 percent
—Small pickup: down 2.7 percent
—Small sedan: down 2.0 percent
—Full-size sedan: down 1.3 percent
—Compact: down 1.0 percent

Meanwhile the editorial team that compiled this week’s Black Book Market Insights report illustrated where cars saw larger-than-normal depreciation, especially with the spring selling season right around the corner.

The report also highlighted that within the 2015 model year segment retention, small pickups are holding 72.9 percent of their value; the strongest of any vehicle segment.

"The depreciation rate on car segments increased while strong sales volumes with more supply were reported at the auto auctions," said Anil Goyal, Black Book’s senior vice president of automotive valuation and analytics.

Volume-weighted, Black Book determined overall car segment values decreased by 0.76 percent last week, higher than the average weekly decrease of 0.60 percent in values editors noticed during the previous four weeks.

Editors added that the compact car, mid-size car and near luxury car segments decreased in value the most among all the car segments.

Again considering volume-weighted data, Black Book found that overall truck segment values — including pickups, SUVs and vans softened by 0.48 percent last week, better than the average weekly decrease of 0.57 percent in values editors tallied during the previous four weeks.

Editors also mentioned sub-compact crossover, minivan and mid-size crossover/SUV segments decreased in value the most among all the truck segments.

Closing this report with what Black Book’s representatives gathering in the lanes, dealers seem to be somewhat upbeat as 2018 moves along.

Beginning in California, Black Book’s lane watcher mentioned, “Fairly strong sale today with good action in the auction arena as well as the online buying.”

In nearby Nevada, what’s happened on Capitol Hill is pushing dealers to make moves as Black Book found, “Dealers are optimistic that the new tax plan will stimulate many anxious buyers who have been on the sidelines for a while.”

Continuing to move East, Black Book’s representative in Colorado reported, “A pretty good sale here as the market is picking up after the holiday season. Attendance and sales were both up.”

Finally in Georgia, Black Book’s representative noticed, “A lot of vehicles were in good condition and sellers were dropping their floors in order to sell as many as possible. The in-lane attendance was up as well.”