Black Book: Some Stability Returns to Wholesale Market
GAINESVILLE, Ga. — With Memorial Day weekend in the rear-view mirror, Ricky Beggs not only offered his usual weekly look at the wholesale market but also shared thoughts about how the previous three months behaved.
The managing editor at Black Book began first by mentioning what dealers, remarketers and auction personnel are calling a "more stable market." Beggs indicated that Black Book editors observed a mindset that's quite different from one where all of these industry players saw more increases than depreciation.
"Sure there have been more ‘no sales' and ‘if sales,'" Beggs conceded. "But in many cases it seemed the sellers have become more realistic as to what their vehicles are worth today and accepted a slight adjustment to real market values.
"As some of the numbers indicated, once we came to the end of the week, the aggressive bidding and mentality of ‘have to have at whatever price' may be a thing of the past for the remainder of 2010," Beggs continued.
Black Book pointed out that it recorded the lowest percentage of adjustments that were increases since the week ending Jan. 15. The figure from this past week came in at 23 percent compared to 15 percent reported in January.
Editors mentioned the previous 13 weeks of adjustments had increases each time of more 46 percent, including a couple of instances when the changes climbed higher than 85 percent.
Nonetheless, Beggs cautioned that plenty of activity still is taking place since Black Book adjusted more than 1,230 vehicles each day throughout the week.
Black Book said 23 percent of the adjustments were increases at an average amount of almost $160, while the remaining 77 percent consisted of decreases at $122 on average.
All told, Beggs calculated the total movement of adjusted vehicles slipped lower by $57. He noted it's the largest drop since Black Book computed a $79 decline back for the week that ended Jan. 22.
Black Book determined overall car and truck segments both fell this past week as cars slid down $17 while trucks edged lower by $11. It marked the third consecutive week for negative movement for cars and the second in a row for trucks. Beggs noted these trends haven't been noticed since the week ending on Feb. 12.
Looking at cars in more detail, Black Book spotted only one individual segment — entry level sporty cars — that showed an increase last week. This segment moved up $20.
"This segment has been one of positive adjustments every week since the week ending March 19," Beggs declared. "Maybe this is as much a spring seasonal trend for these type cars."
Turning more attention to trucks, Black Book noticed just five of 14 segments showing positive movement. Editors indicated only full-size vans and minivans posted consecutive weeks of positive gains.
"The bottom line is the market couldn't continue going up in value almost across the board," Beggs insisted.
"The depreciating assets we deal in every day are still pretty stable," he went on to say. "More and more 2010 used models are appearing in the market and the editors continue to place market driven values on these most current used models."
Black Book's Three-Month Analysis
Beggs again conceded that wholesale market patterns from years past haven't been too reliable in predicting what could happen now, even as the familiar summer weather arrives.
"As we are getting closer to winding up the first half of 2010 and heading in to summer, with schools finishing up and vacations galore, it is also the typical time of the year for wholesale market values to begin heading downward," Beggs explained.
"But as anyone connected to the car industry during the last couple of years can attest, does anyone know what is typical or normal anymore? Fortunately for used values, the continued limited supply of used units has helped retention values, even for some of the higher mileage vehicles, maintain some almost unbelievable levels," he went on to highlight.
For the 2008 models, Black Book determined year-over-year value changes effective June 1 showed only four of the 24 segment types increasing from the same point last year. Editors pointed out that this comparison includes one less segment type as compared to when they made assessments looking at this past May compared to the same month in 2009.
Nevertheless, Beggs indicated the segment with the strongest gain was mid-size pickups, which increased by 8 percent or $1,120
Looking back over the last three months, Black Book found that prices in 16 of the 24 segment types are higher, overall, as compared to the three-month span that ended May 31, 2009. The company indicated the total increase came in at 0.85 percent.
Black Book went ahead and also looked at segment movement readings as of the first day of April, May and June of this year. For June, prices in 13 of 24 segments moved higher while as of May 1, it was 14 segments creeping upward. For April, Black Book found it was 15 segments heading upward.
Beggs interjected that the overall monthly change was a minuscule, coming in at 0.02 percent or about $12.
During the last monthly tracking period, Black Book also reported the contingent of models increasing in value by $800 or more was made up mostly of SUVs and CUVs. Just two of the nine models were cars, the Audi A8 and the Volvo S80.
For the monthly period that ended May 1, editors again found a majority of models with the greatest increase were either SUVs or CUVs.
"For vehicles that didn't fare so well month over month, with depreciation of $800 or more, five of the nine were car models," Beggs pointed out.
Black Book also highlighted positive trends regarding domestic nameplates. During this most recent three-month span, editors said domestic cars climbed 1.8 percent or $263 while domestic trucks jumped 3.6 percent or $601.
"Even the imports, with cars down 1.8 percent and the trucks down 0.2 percent, have had recent retention that is much better than historical trends," Beggs interjected.
When looking at month-over-month analysis through June 1, Black Book also indicated truck models overall showing the greatest increase. Editors indicated it was higher by 0.55 percent as compared to 0.29 percent and 0.08 percent gains for domestic cars and domestic trucks respectively. They also revealed import cars slipped down 0.38 percent for an $82 change.
When wrapping up his breakdown, Beggs believes "all of the reported numbers indicate a very strong used market.
"Limited supply of used vehicles in the market, a continuing struggling economy with unemployment still at significant levels and credit availability reflective of today's economic levels, have many consumers still looking at used over new to fill their transportation needs, another factor in helping maintain used vehicle values during a typical time of deprecation," Beggs concluded.