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STAMFORD, Conn. — Used-car prices are likely to climb 5 percent this year and continue to show growth through the next four years, according to the RVI Group.

The company is anticipating the year-over-year upswing in used prices to reach a peak of 13-percent in 2012 before starting to stabilize.

Specifically, the RVI forecasts that the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index will reach 102.3 in 2010, climb 3 percent to 105.6 in 2011 and surge 13 percent to 118.9 in 2012.

Then, in 2013, the index is projected to climb moderately (2 percent) to 121.4 before dropping back down to 118.6 in 2014.

One segment whose used prices are projected to jump greatly during this time frame is luxury midsize sedans.

"Our Used Vehicle Stock Index points to a 73-percent increase in used-vehicle supply for 2009, but is expected to significantly decrease beginning in 2010," officials said. "Our Competitive Index points to an increase from the current level suggesting that competition and incentive activity will continue to increase through 2012 decreasing thereafter.

"We estimate that values for luxury midsize sedans will steadily climb through 2013," they further explained.

Looking at this in more detail, RVI forecasts the Manheim Index for luxury midsize sedans to be 106.2 in 2010, up 11 percent. It is expected to grow 5 percent to 112 in 2011, then jump 15 percent to 129.3 a year later.

In 2013, the index for the segment is expected to be 131.4 (up 2 percent) before coming back down to 126.9 in 2014 (down 3 percent).

Economic Indicators

Continuing on, RVI also looked at the overall U.S. economy, which officials said showed some signs of life towards the end of 2009, but ultimately is still mired in a struggle.

For instance, gross domestic product climbed 2.8 percent in the third quarter of 2009, marking the first time it had jumped in more than a year. The previous time was the second quarter of 2008, when GDP moved ahead 1.5 percent.

Unemployment, meanwhile, slowed down between October (10.2 percent) and November (10 percent), but it was still up considerably from the year-ago period (6.8 percent in November 2008).

Moreover, RVI analysts anticipate that unemployment will stay above 10 percent through the middle of this year.

"The U.S. recession is by most economists' definition over, but many macroeconomic indices suggest the economy is still struggling," they noted.

For example, November's consumer sentiment — as measured by the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment — fell to 67.4.  Analysts anticipate it will be "low for the foreseeable future."

The Consumer Price Index jumped 1.8 percent in November, officials noted. Gas prices climbed, as well, moving ahead to $2.65.