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Used-Vehicle Prices Remain Resilient in 2014

January 7, 2015

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — According to Black Book data, the average price of a used vehicle for model years 2009 to 2013 continued to fall in December, depreciating 1% compared to November. For all of 2014, the average price fell 12.1%, a much lighter drop that the 12.8% decline recorded for all of 2013 and less than Black Book’s predicted 13.5% decline.

During December, prices for domestic cars depreciated 1.4%, while prices for import cars declined 1.1%. The average price for domestic trucks depreciated 0.6%, while prices on import trucks fell 0.9%. For the year, domestic trucks finished with the lowest category depreciation at 9.1%, while domestic cars finished with the highest at 15.9%.

Prestige luxury cars finished the year with the highest annual depreciation, with the average price falling 18.1%, while full-size passenger vans finished as the only segment with a positive change. The average price for the segment increased 3.5%.

Despite leading the year with the lowest depreciation, trucks represented four of the six segments with the highest depreciation in December, led by cargo minivans with a 1.8% decline. Trucks in this segment include the Dodge Caravan, Ford Transit Connect and the Chevrolet Uplander.

Luxury level cars experienced the highest monthly depreciation among all car segments in December, with the average price falling 1.6%. Cars in this segment include the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E Class, Lexus I Series and Infiniti M Series. Vehicles in this segment finished the month with an average price of $20,574, a 16.8% decline from a year ago.

Full-size cargo vans and full-size passenger vans finished December tied with the strongest retention at 0.5%, while compact SUVs finished the month in positive territory with a 0.2% gain. The car segment with the lowest monthly depreciation was the entry-level vehicle category, which finished mostly unchanged from a year ago with a 0.2% decline.

“2014 saw an increased number of cars sold compared with the previous year, which means additional trade-in volume would typically drive a rising depreciation rate,” said Ricky Beggs, editorial director at Black Book. “However, despite more trade-in volume in 2014, used-car prices overall increased, which translated to stronger-than-normal retention values across the board. Additionally, we saw some of the lowest gas prices in years toward the latter half of 2014, which had an impact on truck and car segment demand and depreciation patterns.”

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