Car & Truck Blog

Used Market Update: September 17, 2020

Wholesale auction sales of vehicles up to 8 years old for the week ending September 13 reached 86,000 units, representing a 3% decline versus the prior week’s 88,000-unit figure. Ultimately, sales for the week ending September 13 were approximately 8% lower than what’s typically recorded for the period. It is important to note that sales for the week ending September 6 improved by 1,000 units versus what was initially reported due to lagged sales records.

Weekly Wholesale Auction Sales (thousands)
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Segment-level auction sales on the mainstream side of the market declined by an average of 14% for the week ending September 13. Losses were recorded across all mainstream segments, with most segments recording sales volume declines of 10% to 16%. On the premium side of the market, sales fell by 13% the week ending September 13. Like the mainstream side of the market, premium segment sales results were mixed across segments.

Wholesale Auction Prices Move Lower Once Again

After several weeks of slowing price appreciation, wholesale auction prices moved lower again the week ending September 13, marking the fourth consecutive week of downward price movement. Prices for the week were down by an average of 1.1% when compared to the previous week. As wholesale prices continue to soften, it’s important to remember that they remain 33% higher than their trough in April, and 13% 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 1.2% the week ending September 13 when compared to the prior week. Prices on the mainstream side were down again across the board. In general, losses across segments were mixed with prices falling between 0.5% and 1.7%. Premium prices once again performed better than their mainstream counterparts. On average, premium segment prices increased by an average of 0.4% for the week ending September 13. While most premium segments experienced small price declines, small and large premium car, as well as large premium SUV prices improved by 1% to 2%.

Despite a slowing used market, wholesale prices remain strong. Prices are expected to continue to move lower through the remainder of September and into October 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 impact 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.