Lane watch: Auctions and dealers eager for volume rise


Along with sharing its latest update on the specialty markets, Black Book reported that wholesale prices remained steady and volume a bit constricted as the calendar flipped to September.

The latest Market Insights report highlighted the strength mainstream sedans have had in the market. Coupled with the effects of increased SUV inventory over the last few years, editors acknowledged possible swinging of the pendulum for cars.

“Used sedans are hot in the market as value-conscious consumers look for affordable transportation,” said Anil Goyal, executive vice president of operations at Black Book.

Volume-weighted, editors found overall car segment values increased just a little last week — 0.03 percent. In comparison, Black Book reported market values for cars had decreased by 0.15 percent on average during the prior four-week period.

As Goyal referenced, the midsize car segment experienced the biggest increase, rising 0.24 percent or $21.

Volume-weighted, editors determined overall truck segment values (including pickups, SUVs and vans) softened by 0.11 percent last week. In comparison, the market values had decreased by 0.14 percent on average during the previous four-week period.

Within trucks, Black Book noticed the compact luxury crossover/SUV segment performed the worst, sliding by 0.36 percent or $70.

Among the anecdotes collected by Black Book representatives stationed at sales nationwide, the talk was as much about volume as price, especially in the Southeast.

— From Georgia: “The volume is still down, but the prices are not. Buyers are not thrilled about the extra bidding it takes to secure inventory for their lots.”

— From Florida: “Fewer no-sales today, and about the only vehicles not selling were the large commercial vans.”

— For North Carolina: “An auction GM in North Carolina says that they are consistently selling around 65 percent and believes the high conversions will continue until more supply comes to the physical auctions.”

And talk about volume percolated in the North, too, with the story in Pennsylvania being, “One thing that stood out today was the dealers’ acceptance to higher mileage vehicles which points to the lower supply.”

Finally, a familiar scene unfolded in Massachusetts where Black Book lane watcher said, “The nicer vehicles still bring really strong money but the older, condition challenged ones are a tough sell.”

Update on the specialty markets

As they share regularly, editors also opened a new month by recapping their latest observations of what’s happening in the specialty space.

— Collectibles: With a cumulative total of nearly $370 million, “it’s safe to say that Monterey 2018 was a success,” Black Book said.

— Recreational Vehicles: Editors indicated the average selling price of towables at auction last month crept up about 1.5 percent, reaching another all-time high at just above $15,000.

— Powersports: Black Book determined all segments are down this month in the powersports market. “Most of these are normal seasonal drops, but a few normally strong fall vehicle segments are also down a bit more than is typical for the time of year,” editors said.

— Heavy-Duty: Black Book pointed out that new heavy-duty truck orders are being delivered although the turn-in units are not showing up at auction at the same rate.

— Medium-Duty: Editors closed by noting the used market remains strong despite new inventory adding some downward pressure to wholesale prices.

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