CNW Research’s used-vehicle sales projection came to fruition as analysts determined the industry produced its best March since 2002 — thanks in part to activity associated with older vehicles and younger buyers.
Used sales surpassed 3 million in March, creating an 11-percent year-over-year lift. The total came in at just above 3 million, up from 2.7 million a year ago. In March 2002, the used sales total was 3.1 million, according to CNW.
Breaking down the March total, CNW indicated franchised dealers sold 1.08 million units last month, 17.34 percent more than a year ago. Meanwhile, independent stores turned 7.14 percent more vehicles in March than they did a year earlier, amassing 959,931 sales.
Furthermore, the firm determined private-party sales rose 8.75 percent year-over-year to 960,804.
CNW president Art Spinella explained how two factors triggered the best March sales figure in 11 years. Spinella said there was “a big influx” of older vehicles, units from the 1998 model year and earlier. Plus, he pointed out a surge in the amount of late-model vehicles available helped to push March sales.
“The middle part of the market for the most part hasn’t changed much, anything from 6 to 15 years old,” Spinella told Auto Remarketing on Tuesday. “But the above 15 and the under 6 really drove the market this month.”
Meanwhile, Spinella mentioned a specific age demographic was a catalyst in March. He noted a large amount of buyers and sellers fell between the ages 25 and 35.
Elsewhere in CNW’s March data, analysts found that core transaction prices — including aftermarket products but excluding loan interest — slipped slightly at franchised dealerships, ticking down to $12,715 from $12,789.
At independent stores, the decrease in core transaction prices was a bit more pronounced as CNW said they softened to $6,765 from $7,188.
Prices for last month’s private party sales also dropped, falling from $7,473 to $6,939.
Spinella recapped how CNW analyzes transaction prices and pointed out the trends might be better than the overall movements indicated. He said analysts “look at baskets of models”, such as full-size pickup trucks and budget cars, to get “a good mix of different products.” Then CNW also considers vehicle age within those baskets.
“What you wind up with is you’re comparing this year with last year with the same basket of products,” Spinella said. “From that standpoint, we actually saw an increase in prices. What drove the prices down for the independents overall was the influx of older vehicles.”
Finally, CNW shared two other trends from its March sales data:
—Total value of all used sales climbed to $27.2 billion, up from $25.4 billion a year ago.
—The number of used-car shoppers in March of this year topped 8.1 million, a significant increase from 7.8 million during the same month last year.