The used-car supply dynamic is likely to continue to be challenging dealers for the remainder of this year and likely even the next, if reports from industry observers are any indication.

But there are some signs of promise for dealers looking to secure that much-needed used-car inventory through wholesale channels, including this nugget:

Eleven of the past 13 months have shown a year-over-year rise in unit sales at auto auctions, according to AuctionNet data from the National Auto Auction Association shared exclusively with Auto Remarketing.

That string of gains includes January, where total unit sales at auctions came in at 541,154 units, a 9% increase from January 2023, when 496,503 units were sold, the AuctionNet data shows.

Perhaps even more promising is this: Driving the sales hike was commercial volume, which climbed 30% year-over-year in January, NAAA said. There was a 3% drop in dealer sales at auction.

“Commercial auction sales have gradually risen over the past 18 months in large part because new-vehicle sales into commercial fleets have improved (i.e., commercial consigners are swapping out larger numbers of older in-service units to make way for new ones),” NAAA vice president of Auction Data Solutions/AuctionNet Larry Dixon said in commentary provided to Auto Remarketing as part of a new series.

“Excluding other sale types (e.g., as-is, salvage), the split between dealer and commercial sales reached 53% and 47%, respectively, last month,” Dixon said. “This compares to a 60/40 split in January 2023.”

Looking at AuctionNet’s segmentation data, which is provided by Black Book, the biggest growth among major segments was for midsize luxury crossover/SUV sales, which rose 25.4% year-over-year to come in at 20,024 for January, according to the data.

Also seeing double-digit-percentage rises were the compact crossover/SUV (up 17% at 76,971 units) and the midsize crossover/SUV (up 15.3% at 78,527 units.)

Compact car volumes rose 2.8% to 59,255, while full-size pickups were up 6.4% at 66,405 units.

Luxury car volumes came in at 31,002 units, a 5.4% rise. There were 65,538 midsize cars sold at auction in January, a 1.4% increase.

NAAA did note that battery-electric vehicle sales at auction climbed 80.8% year-over-year to come in at 6,734 units for January, but emphasized their share of AuctionNet volume was just 1.2%

The top-selling selling internal-combustion-engine vehicle at auction in January was the 2023 Toyota Camry 4D Sedan SE 2.5L, which had 1,201 sales, according to AuctionNet.

Next on the list was the 2021 Toyota Carolla 4D Sedan AT LE 1.8L with 1,081 sales.

Among battery-electric vehicles, the 2021 Tesla Model Y 4D SUV Long Range 100 kWh, with 457 sales for the month.

Note: This is the first in a new monthly series where Auto Remarketing will share AuctionNet data and commentary provided by the National Auto Auction Association.

As noted by the organization, more than 260 NAAA member auctions power AuctionNet, making it the most comprehensive source of wholesale auto auction sales data in the U.S. Unless otherwise noted, auction sales figures are based on total reporting auctions, the number and composition of which may vary over time.