The monthly index generated by Black Book showed August wholesale prices trending in a different direction than the monthly index posted by Manheim.

Here’s what the experts from both operations said.

The Black Book Used Vehicle Retention Index for August decreased 5.2% or 8.8 percentage points to 162.3 from the July reading of 171.1. Black Book said the index came 11.8% below where it was at the same time in 2022.

Analysts added the index sits 42% above the March 2020 reading — the last pre-pandemic monthly mark.

“Last month, we observed the second largest monthly drop in Black Book’s Seasonally Adjusted Retention Index since its inception in 2005 (the largest being during the first full month of the pandemic in April of 2020), said Black Book chief data science officer Alex Yurchenko, who is among the speaking faculty on deck for Used Car Week that begins on Nov. 6 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“Prices declined across all segments and age buckets, with mainstream car segments and full-size SUVs declining the most. The direction of wholesale prices in the last four months of this year largely depend on the possibility of and the longevity of the UAW strike,” Yurchenko continued in a news release.

Meanwhile, Cox Automotive reported wholesale used-vehicle prices (on a mix, mileage, and seasonally adjusted basis) increased 0.2% in August from July. The movement pushed the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index (MUVVI) to 212.2, which is 7.7% lower than a year ago.

“August brought a stop to wholesale price declines, though it was only a small reversal of the larger magnitude declines so far this spring and early summer,” said Chris Frey, senior manager of economic and industry insights for Cox Automotive. “Historically speaking, the monthly figure aligns with the 0.3% average we’ve seen since 1997.

“Sure, there were swings in August during the financial crisis, the COVID reopening period of 2020, and the 2022 doldrums; but this year, the performance looks more ordinary,” Frey continued in a Data Point that highlighted the latest Manheim information. “Like last month’s note, the current Manheim Index level of 212.2 is barely above that of the 212.1 measure seen in August 2021.

“Used market conditions have been quite consistent for a few months and are not likely to change much, even with the larger push toward balance; sales are slightly stronger than expected, inventory remains tight, and prices are holding at levels around 6% below last year at the same time. These factors are expected to prevent any substantial decline in wholesale prices through year-end,” Frey went on to say.

Cox Automotive pointed out the seasonal adjustment minimized August’s increase. The non-adjusted price change in August increased by 0.9% compared to July, moving the unadjusted average price down 7.5% year-over-year.

In August, analysts explained Manheim Market Report (MMR) values saw below-average weekly declines as the month started and ended, with increases in between.

Over the last four weeks, Cox Automotive said the Three-Year-Old Index increased an aggregate 0.2%. Over the month of August, daily MMR Retention — which is the average difference in price relative to the current MMR — averaged 99.3%, meaning market prices were slightly below MMR values.

Analysts mentioned the average daily sales conversion rate increased to 57.5%, which they said is much closer to normal for the time of year and higher than what was recorded over the last three months.

For context, Cox Automotive recollected the daily sales conversion rate averaged 60.0% in August 2019.

“Buying activity increased in the month, while supply remained limited,” analysts said, while mentioning that the sales conversion rate in August was higher than July when it was 48.9% and August 2022 when it was 49.9%.

The Manheim index update also included a look at major market segments that again saw seasonally adjusted prices in August softening year-over-year.

Compared to last August, values for pickups, vans, and SUVs dropped by 2.8%, 6.1% and 7.5%, respectively, according to Cox Automotive.

Analysts said prices for compact cars declined the most on year-over-year comparison, sliding by 13.3%, followed by midsize cars at 12.0%, and luxury cars at 8.8%.

Looking at sequential comparison, Cox Automotive said wholesale prices for pickups ticked up 0.6%, while values for vans increased 1.2%.

One other note on the wholesale front from Cox Automotive, as analysts said the average price for rental risk units sold at auction in August declined 5.9% year-over-year.

Rental risk prices increased by 1.4% compared to July, according to Cox Automotive tracking.

Analysts added that average mileage for rental risk units in August (at 55,100 miles) dipped 2.5% year-over-year and 9.0% sequentially.