It was a great start to the second half of the year for the certified pre-owned car market.
There were 236,579 CPO vehicle sales in July, which beat year-ago figures by 6%, despite trailing June figures by 2%, says a new Data Point report from Cox Automotive, which cites Motor Intelligence data.
This follows a first half where sales were up 1.3%, as the CPO market increasingly looks like it will reach a ninth straight record year.
Through seven months, certified sales have climbed 2% year-over-year, eclipsing the 1.6 million-unit mark, according to the Cox Automotive report.
“This year CPO sales are growing at a comfortable pace above 2018’s record-setting performance. Favorable supply of vehicles entering the market will continue to support used retail sales,” analysts said in the report.
The overall used-vehicle sales market was a bit slower in July, but the seasonally adjusted annualized rate is still tracking toward 40 million, and dealers are enjoying strong used-car operations.
Not to mention, the used retail SAAR was up from June and year-ago figures, and the public dealer groups are showing strength in used-car sales.
That’s according to two other analyses earlier this month from Cox Automotive, which pegged the used-vehicle SAAR at 39.7 million in July.
That compares to a July 2018 used-car SAAR of 40.1 million and a June 2019 used-car reading of 39.8 million, the company said in an analysis accompanying the latest Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index.
Cox Automotive said the used-retail SAAR in July was an estimated 20.1 million. In both June of this year and July of last, it was 19.8 million.
(The company explained that the used SAAR includes the entire used-car market, including private-party sales, whereas the used-retail SAAR only includes sales from franchised and independent dealers).
In a separate Data Point analysis, Cox Automotive pointed out that amid a slower new-vehicle sales environment (there has been a 2% decline year to date), there is a push toward used — including the public franchised dealer groups.
The start of the year was not as auspicious for used.
In a presentation near Detroit in late June, Cox Automotive senior economist Charlie Chesbrough said the first few months of 2019 showed a sluggish used market.
Citing IHS Markit used-car registration data, he said January, February and March showed year-over-year declines.
“In April, used-vehicle sales exploded, up 250,000 units over the previous April,” Chesbrough said. “Can’t really explain it, other than we think that there must be something going on with the tax reform.
“And that there was a lot of uncertainty and confusion around what (consumers’) tax liability was going to be, tax returns were delayed — there was just a lot of uncertainty. And those tax returns have a major impact in the used-vehicle market,” Chesbrough said. “Many folks use that money to buy these vehicles or use it for a down payment.”