Lane watch: Dealers continue to prep for potential UAW strike
Black Book watched vehicle-value decreases slow by almost half last week compared to the previous week. Analysts said the reason why could arrive on Thursday.
That’s when a potential strike involving manufacturing plant workers against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis could begin. Black Book said dealers are reinforcing their inventories in case a prolonged labor clash happens and impacts used-vehicle availability.
Wholesale prices decreased by 0.75% last week, as the estimated average weekly sales rate increased to 50%. Black Book reported a week earlier that wholesale prices dropped by 1.40%.
Black Book said in its newest Market Insights released on Tuesday, “This week is the one that we have all been holding our breath for — will the UAW strike? If so, what will be the impact on the industry?
“The market depreciation slowed last week in anticipation of the news on the strike expected to come later this week,” analysts continued in the report. “Auction conversion rates increased last week, as buyers are preparing for the potential drop in inventory as a result of the strike. Despite depreciation slowing compared to the prior week, the weekly declines are still well above typical seasonal movements.”
A week after car prices declined by 1.44%, Black Book reported that on a volume-weighted basis, overall car segment values decreased 0.89% last week.
With the potential for new-car inventory to diminish if a prolonged strike happens, analysts noticed that prices for 0- to 2-year-old cars softened by just 0.54%. Meanwhile, values for cars 8- to 16-years-old dropped by 1.09%, according to Black Book tracking.
Analysts indicated that eight of the nine car segments decreased in value last week, with two posting declines exceeding 1%.
Compact cars (down 1.21%) and midsize cars (down 1.10%) led the way. Black Book pointed out compact cars now have had six consecutive weeks of value declines with an average weekly depreciation of 1.81%.
Analysts added demand for the Chevrolet Corvette pushed values up for premium sporty cars for the third week in a row. The latest uptick came in at 0.28%.
“In smaller segments like premium sporty car, changes on individual models can have a big impact on the overall segment change week to week,” Black Book said.
Meanwhile, in the truck department, Black Book volume-weighted data showed overall truck values decreased 0.69% last week. That’s half of what the downward movement was a week earlier, when those truck prices dropped by 1.38%.
Moving similarly to car like for the same reason, Black Book noticed prices 0- to 2-year-old trucks declined by 0.47% last week, while values for 8- to 16-year-old models decreased by 0.73%.
Analysts said all 13 truck segments depreciated last week, with four segments sustained value declines of more than 1%.
That quartet included subcompact crossovers (down 1.35%), subcompact luxury crossovers (down 1.03%), full-size luxury crossover/SUVs (down 1.21%) and compact crossover/SUVs (down 1.12%).
Black Book mentioned full-size truck depreciation “has dramatically slowed down,” as the segment declined by just 0.30% last week. During the prior week, prices for full-size trucks were off by 1.12%.
“All of the focus this week will be on the potential UAW strike,” Black Book said while noting the current contract expires on Thursday. “Last week, we saw continued declines in both the car and trucks segments, which were smaller than in recent weeks but still showing prices moving downward.
“Auction conversion rates went up for the second week in a row and auction inventory has leveled off,” analysts continued. “Now, we are not seeing inventory levels increasing as much as we have seen in past weeks.
“If the UAW strike happens this week, our expectation is that we could see wholesale prices start moving up fast as a result of less inventory coming to the auctions,” Black Book went on to say. “That’s why here at Black Book, we have our team of analysts focused on keeping their eyes on the market, watching for developing trends and gathering insights.”