Car & Truck Blog

Used Market Update: October 2, 2020

Wholesale auction sales of vehicles up to 8 years old for the week ending Sept. 27 reached 94,000 units, which is a 4% increase vs. the prior week’s 90,000-unit figure. Ultimately, sales for the week ending Sept. 20 are approximately 9% lower than what’s typically recorded for the period.

Weekly Wholesale Auction Sales (thousands)
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Segment-level auction sales on the mainstream side of the market grew by an average of 5% for the week ending Sept. 27. Increases were recorded across most mainstream segments, however, large SUV and midsize pickup sales experienced declines of 3% and 5%, respectively. On the premium side of the market, sales totals were virtually flat for the week ending Sept. 27. Similar to the mainstream side of the market, premium segment sales results were flat-to-positive, though small and compact premium car volumes fell 3% each.

Wholesale Auction Prices Down Again

After several weeks of small price declines, wholesale auction prices moved lower again the week ending Sept. 27 marking the sixth consecutive week of downward price movement. Prices last week were reduced an average of 0.8%. As wholesale prices continue to soften, they remain 31% higher than their trough in April, and 11% 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 declined by an average of 1% the week ending Sept. 20 when compared with the prior week. Prices on the mainstream side were down again across the board. Losses across segments were mixed and fell between 0.5% (large pickup) and 1.4% (midsize car). Premium prices once again performed better than their mainstream counterparts. On average, premium segment prices increased 0.3% for the week ending Sept. 27. While most premium segments experienced small price increases, compact and midsize premium SUV prices fell an average of 0.7%.

Despite a slowing used market, wholesale prices remain strong. Prices are expected to continue to move lower through October and into November as pent-up demand has been satisfied and pandemic-related macro-economic headwinds increase. By year's end, prices are expected to be greater than pre-virus levels. It is important to note, however, that while the outlook is relatively optimistic, there remains a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the effect of new virus outbreaks, the potential for another round of federal stimulus and overall employment conditions. Given these unknowns, a heightened degree of market volatility should be expected.