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J.D. Power: Used Vehicle Price Index Falls 1.4% in November

December 21, 2017

MCCLEAN, Va. — Underperforming van and car segments led to a decline in J.D. Power's used vehicle price index in November, a reversal from the index's previous three months of consecutive growth, according to the firm.

The index declined 1.4% in November. Through November, the index has fallen 5.9% on a year-to-date basis compared to the same period last year. 

Looking at wholesale used-vehicle prices for units up to eight years old, prices were down 4.2% in November, according to J.D. Power’s December Used Car and Light Truck Guidelines report.

On a vehicle segment level, mid-size vans, compact cars, and mid-size cars posted the biggest declines in wholesale price, with prices falling more than 4% for each segment. Meanwhile, large pickups continue to outperform the market, realizing the lowest drop in price among all vehicle segments in November at 2.6%.

The biggest drop in price in November, however, came from vehicles in the luxury segment. Prices for luxury mid-size cars and luxury large cars declined 6.6% and 6.1%, respectively.

On a year-over-year basis, the volume of late-model vehicles at auction also declined in November. The amount of newer used vehicles was down 2% this past month, compared to the same time last year; volume was also down 0.8% compared to October. 

Through November, however, late-model volume is up 4.4% on a year-to-date basis compared to the same time last year. 

The largest volume increases have come from the truck and SUV segments. Even with volume from these segments growing, however, cars still account for a larger percentage of the auction market. Through November, cars accounted for 54% of the auction market, while trucks accounted for 46%, according to the J.D. Power report.

Looking toward the end of December, wholesale prices for vehicles up to eight years old are expected to decline about 1%. Looking at the end of 2017 as a whole, used prices are expected to decline roughly 5.6%.

On the new-vehicle front, November’s sales improved 1.3% over the same time last year, led by strong sales of light trucks and rising incentives. New-vehicle sales totaled 1.39 million during the month, bringing 2017’s year-to-date total to 15.5 million new units, a 1.5% year-over-year decline.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate in November also dropped to 17.40 million from the 18.01 million the month prior.

Compared to the same time last year, light truck sales were up 7.6%. Vehicles in the truck segment accounted for 67% of the new-vehicle market in November, while cars accounted for the remaining 33%. Last year, the split was 63% vs. 37% in favor of trucks.

The average amount of incentive spending per unit in November increased 1.9% from a year ago to $3,811.

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