NAAA: Used Sales & Auction Volume Up in 2012; Momentum Expected to Continue
Used sales growth, slightly higher auction volume and modestly lower auction prices were among the stories of 2012. Will these trends continue into this year?
The National Auto Auction Association looked at these metrics in its fourth-quarter Auction Industry Report.
According to report, the end of 2012 saw a pick up in new- and used-vehicle sales, increased auction volume and lowered prices in the lanes.
NAAA economist Ira Silver prepared the report, and indicated in it that Q4 2012 used-vehicle sales were “up a strong 6.2 percent, bringing the 2012 increase to 4.5 percent.”
Furthermore, this past year, 40.5 million used vehicles were sold, the most in five years, Silver noted.
“Continued strong new sales will provide supply to the used market, leading to another increase in 2013 in the 5 percent area,” Silver shared, noting the sales spike is not over for the industry.
And new-vehicle sales were booming, too, as 2012 wrapped up. In fact, new light vehicle sales picked up to a 15 million annual rate in the fourth quarter, according to Silver. This is up from the rate of 14.5 million in the third quarter.
Overall, full-year new-vehicle sales came in at 14.4 million. Not only did this mark the best yearly sum since 2007, the 13.3-percent year-over-year increase was the strongest since 1984, the report said.
Silver attributed the new sales spike in part to an “improving economy, better credit conditions, attractive fuel-efficient models, a great deal of pent-up demand, and significant increases in housing and stock market.”
As for action in the lanes, auction volume was up for the last quarter of 2012.
“As hoped for, in the fourth quarter, the strength in dealer consignment and manufacturing/factory finally more than offset the drag from lease/fleet and overall auction volume increased by 2.4 percent,” Silver said, noting the used supply situation continues to improve.
Full-year auction volume finished up with a 0.5-percent increase over 2011, marking the first annual increase in six years, according to NAAA data.
And volume is expected to rise over this year, as well.
“As fleet/lease volume strengthens this year, total volume gains will accelerate,” Silver explained.
Breaking the full-year data down by type, dealer consignment was up 6.4 percent year-over-year, while fleet/lease was down 6.6 percent. OEM/factory consignment was down 0.8 percent.
For vehicle segments, the utility segment finished the year with a gain of 2.6 percent, while passenger cars were up 0.8 percent. Pickups dipped 3.3 percent and vans were off 2.7 percent.
As for prices, dealers were paying a tad less. Average auction prices for 2012 fell 1.6 percent, compared to a 0.7-percent decline in 2011.
Wrapping up his commentary, Silver said, “This year we expect to see continued auction volume gains in dealer consignment and manufacturing/factory; and a turnaround in fleet/lease, giving the industry an up year with a significant total volume increase.”