Wholesale used vehicle prices (on a mix-, mileage- and seasonally adjusted basis) rose 0.8% in February. The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index reading was 123.3 in February, which represented a 1.1% increase from a year ago, according to Manheim Consulting.
A surge in individual income tax refund disbursements in late January and early February played a role in propping up wholesale values last month. In addition, readily available retail financing (at attractive terms) made the used vehicle retail market more profitable than the underlying unit sale numbers would suggest, says Manheim.
With new vehicle sales, incentives, fleet deliveries, and wholesale supplies now expected to grow, after a weather-induced hiatus, some pressure on residual values should be expected.
In February, new car and light-duty trucks sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15.3 million, which brought the three-month moving average to that same level and – as we cautioned last month – below the 12-month rolling total, according to Manheim.
Weather and delayed fleet deliveries played a role in increasing pressure on manufacturers to push sales in the months ahead. Incentives were already picking up in late February, but they were mostly selective and still down relative to average transaction prices, which continue to rise, says Manheim.
Total used unit retail sales declined 1.3% in February, with dealer sales down 2.3%, according to CNW. That left dealer retail unit sales down 0.6% for the year. Despite slightly lower unit volumes industrywide, dealer contacts still report that profits are on the rise, as throughput per store is higher and margins are stabilizing. And certified pre-owned sales were up 12.3% in the first two months of 2014.
When measured as a straight average, rental risk prices were down from a year ago but up relative to January. After basic adjustment for mix and mileage, off-rental prices were up both year-over-year and sequentially, says Manheim.
Average mileage on off-rental units sold at auction reached an all-time high of more than 42,300 miles in February. In part, that reflects a delayed de-fleeting and slow fleet deliveries on new units into the rental fleet, according to Manheim.