Although dealers still continue to battle the inventory shortage, the beginning of this month showed some good news on this front for stores that sell used Big 3 vehicles.
Days’ supply of used domestic vehicles came in at 43 as of Aug. 10, up from 41 days’ supply in July, according to CNW Research.
“While it is too early to call it a trend, the supply of used vehicles from the Detroit automakers edged upward in the opening days of August,” said CNW president Art Spinella.
“This marks the first time in four months that Asian brands’ supply was lower than GM, Ford and Chrysler,” he added.
More specifically, used supply for Asian brands was at 41 days, down from 43 in July. However, Spinella also pointed out there has been some progress.
“While the European brands have been whittling away at their inventory, seeing days’ supply falling from well above 50 to a current 48, Asian brands have been successful at regaining a used footing,” he continued.
All that being said, the overall industry is still seeing extremely low used supply. The current level is 42.15 days’ supply, according to CNW. In the 14-plus years that CNW has been tracking this data, the firm said it has never seen used supply so low.
The current level is close to a 20-percent year-over-year decrease, according to CNW.
Supply of top-notch used models are “rapidly” eroding, and “consumers are scouring for replacements to vehicles that have been on their last legs or simply no longer meet transportation needs,” Spinella explained. CNW also provided the following table on used supply.
Healthier Used Sales
In what is likely to be welcome news for dealers, used sales at the outset of August are quite healthy, according to CNW.
In fact, based on the month’s first 10 days, overall used sales are expected to come in at 4.05 million units, which would be a 2.7-percent hike over August 2010. And that sum includes a 6.2-percent softer casual sales market, which is forecasted to move 1.1 million units, compared to 1.17 million sales a year ago.
Meanwhile, franchise dealers are on pace to beat year-ago levels by 8.6 percent in August and notch 1.47 million used sales. Likewise, independents are projected to reach used sales of 1.48 million, up 4.6 percent year-over-year.
Breaking it down by segment, CNW pointed out that, interestingly enough, full-size pickups are earning more used market share in August (8.46 percent) than they were in July (7.02 percent). Conversely, small cars (22.92 percent) have declined modestly from the 23.64 percent share they held in July.
“Much of the reason can be traced to dealers heavily discounting both segments on the lot to eliminate inventory,” Spinella noted.
The SUV/crossover segment is commanding 23.64 percent of the used market, putting it tops of any segment in August, with small cars in second. Standard cars are at 15.38 percent, with small pickups at 4.92 percent, minivans at 3.16 percent and luxury cars commanding a 2.58-percent share. The “all other” category is at 18.94 percent.
The following chart from CNW illustrates the market-share trends for various segments.
Moving along, CNW delved into used pricing. Though full-month retail used pricing for franchised and independent dealers is forecasted to be much stronger than year-ago levels, it is projected to decline slightly from July.
There has not yet been a month-over-month decline in retail used prices in 2011, CNW indicated.
Specifically, franchise dealers are estimated to fetch $11,026 per used vehicle, on average, with independents expected to average $9,562.
“Both figures are off less than 1 percent versus July, but still well ahead of August 2010,” Spinella shared.