February represented the steepest drop in wholesale prices (on a mix-, mileage- and seasonally adjusted basis) in over three years, according to comments accompanying the latest Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index published on Monday.

The index’s reading for February was 123.3, down 1.4 percent year-over-year.  Of the six vehicle segments included in the report, five showed price declines.

Compact car values fell 10.7 percent year-over-year, midsize cars were down 1.9 percent and luxury cars dipped 2.1 percent. SUV/CUV and van values were each off 1.7 percent.

Pickups were the lone segment to show an increase (7.4 percent).

In his commentary on the index, Cox Automotive chief economist Tom Webb explained the likely impact of such a decline, which has been rare these past few years of historically high used-car values. 

“February’s relatively steep decline in wholesale pricing — remember seasonally adjusted (prices were up before the adjustment) — resulted in the Manheim Index’s falling back to its long-term trend line,” Webb said in the report.

“Given that the Index has been above-trend for 66 of the past 72 months, look for an extended reversal to cause lenders and lessors to reassess collateral risk and contract residuals,” he said. “We expect the adjustments will be modest, however, and, thus, the availability of retail financing will remain supportive to the used-vehicle market in the near term.”

For an extensive analysis from Webb on the used-car market and beyond, be sure to tune into this free webinar at 2 p.m. (ET) Tuesday.

Webb will provide his unique perspective on the many facts and figures highlighted throughout Manheim’s 2016 Used Car Market Report and the impact they will have on the automotive industry in 2016 and beyond.

In a review of the data and trends shaping the used car business, Webb will present an in-depth analysis of current vehicle data and market conditions as well as the expectations of the future economy.

Attendees will also have an opportunity to interact with Webb during a live Q&A. If you have some questions for Tom ahead of time, send them to or tweet them to @AR_JoeOverby.

Need ideas? Manheim's 2016 Used Car Market Report may provide some thought-starters.