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Used-Vehicle Index Falls in May After April Uptick

June 5, 2017

Small pickups such as the Chevrolet Colorado enjoyed a 0.5% gain in Black Book’s latest used-vehicle index, despite an overall decline led by subcompact, full-size and mid-size cars. Photo courtesy General Motors Co.
Small pickups such as the Chevrolet Colorado enjoyed a 0.5% gain in Black Book’s latest used-vehicle index, despite an overall decline led by subcompact, full-size and mid-size cars. Photo courtesy General Motors Co.

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Black Book (div. Hearst Business Media) unveiled its Used Vehicle Retention Index for May. Analysts reported the index fell 0.7% to 112.3, down from 113.1 in April. On a 12-month basis, the index has dropped 5.6% from last May.

The index is calculated using Black Book’s published “Wholesale Average” value on two- to six-year-old used vehicles, as a percentage of original typically equipped MSRP. Black Books says its index offers an accurate, unbiased view of the strength of today’s used wholesale market values. It showed a decline as car and truck segments saw increased depreciation in May following a strong spring selling season during April. The index saw a slight bump from 113.0 in March to 113.1 in April, the first time the index saw an increase dating back to January, 2015.

Several car segments saw noticeable declines in the index from the previous month. Subcompact cars fell 1.6%; full-size cars dropped 0.7%; mid-size cars fell 0.6%; and “sporty” cars fell 1.0%. Conversely, premium sporty cars rose 0.4%. Small pickups (0.5%) and full-size luxury SUVs (0.1%) increased slightly; full-size pickups held steady.  

“There is not a lot of surprise in the May numbers, particularly after seeing arguably the strongest spring-season lift on record over the last three years in April,” said Anil Goyal, senior vice president of automotive valuation and analytics for Black Book. “It is expected that we will see more declines in the index in the months ahead as we move deeper into the year, particularly driven by softness among car segments.” 

The index dates back to January 2005, when Black Book published a benchmark index value of 100.0 for the market. During 2008, the index dropped by 14.1% while during 2016, the index by lost 6.4%. During 2011, the index rose strongly from 113.3 to 123.0 by the end of the year as economy picked up steam and used vehicle values rose higher. It continued to remain relatively stable, rising slightly till May of 2014 when it hit a peak of 128.1.

To obtain a copy of the latest Black Book Wholesale Value Index and chart, click here.

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