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Kontos: December Wholesale Prices Fall, Up 3.9% YOY

January 18, 2017

By Eric Gandarilla

CARMEL, Ind. — Wholesale used-vehicle prices in December averaged $10,642, which was essentially flat with the prior month but up 3.9% from a year ago, according to ADESA Analytical Services.

On a year-over-year basis, trucks outperformed cars in December. Average truck prices grew by 5.9% at $12,645 during the month, while cars experienced a 0.6% year-over-year decrease in average price at $8,576.

Looking at month-over-month prices, however, painted a different picture. Compared to November, overall truck prices were down 0.6% in December, while overall car prices were up 1.2% on a month-over-month basis.

“Wholesale prices did a bit of an about-face in December, as truck price softening, perhaps influenced by higher gasoline prices, drove down overall results.  New vehicle incentive activity also remained high, which, along with higher fleet sales, helped the year close out with a new record in sales but put downward pressure on wholesale values,” said Tom Kontos, KAR Auction Services chief economist.

According to data from ADESA Analytical Services, the best-performing car segment in December was the full-size car, which saw its average price per unit go up by 4.1% on a month-over-month basis and 6.5% on a year-over-year basis. For the truck segment, that title belonged to the full-size SUV/CUV, which posted a 1.6% month-over-month decrease and a 14.1% year-over-year increase in price per unit.

“Average wholesale prices for used vehicles remarketed by manufacturers were down 4.2% month-over-month and down 0.4% year-over-year.  Prices for fleet/lease consignors were down 1.5% sequentially but up 1.0% annually. Average prices for dealer consignors were flat versus November but up 1.1% relative to December 2015,” Kontos said.

As for as CPO sales go, December sales for CPO units were at record levels, Kontos said. Month-over-month, sales were up 14.7% and 2.4% year-over-year, according to figures from Autodata. For all of 2016, CPO sales were up 3.5%, setting a new record at 2.64 million units, Kontos added.  

“Fortunately, certified pre-owned (CPO) used vehicle sales also hit a new record, helping absorb growing used vehicle supply and limiting the negative impact to wholesale prices,” Kontos said.

And, according to Edmunds data, the year ended with incentives  again above $3,000 during December, nearly $1,000 higher than the same time in 2015.

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