Used Car & Truck

Used Market Update: January 15, 2021

By David Paris

After increasing 1.6% the week ending Jan. 3, wholesale auction prices continued to rise during the week ending Jan. 10. Prices last week improved by an additional 1.1%, which mark the first time used prices have increased for two consecutive weeks since early August 2020. Wholesale prices are now 24% higher than their trough in April 2020, and 5% above their level at the beginning of March.

Weekly Wholesale Auction Price Index (Mar 1 = 100)

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Wholesale prices for mainstream segments were up across the board. Last week passenger car prices were the strongest, especially small cars whose prices grew more than 3%. Remaining passenger car segment prices also beat the industry average, increasing 1.3% for compact and large cars to 1.5% for midsize cars. Large pickup prices followed closely behind increasing by 1.2% narrowly edging out the industry average. Mass market SUV prices weren’t quite as strong but still grew from 0.4% for small SUV to 1% for midsize SUV. On the premium side, prices weren’t quite as strong as their mass market counterparts, though price movement was generally positive.

Wholesale Auction Sales Return to “New” Normal

After falling below 50,000 units the prior two weeks, wholesale auction sales of vehicles up to 8 years old reached approximately 78,000 units during the week ending Jan. 10. Last week’s result essentially matches the sales level recorded in the three weeks leading to the Christmas holiday period. Looking back to the same period in 2020, sales volume reached nearly 116,000 units during the first week of 2020. Wholesale sales continue to run approximately 30% to 35% below prior-year levels, which is helping keep prices strong.

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