Although the economy did not do well in July - consumer and small business confidence slipped - fleet managers caught a ray of good news as pickups and vans coming out of fleets saw exceptionally strong pricing, according to the August 2010 Industry Brief from Manheim Consulting.

Prices for end-of-service fleet units varied by market class. Many of the pickups coming out of fleets in July showed lower-than-normal mileage and attracted strong bidding.

Prices for mid-size cars coming out of commercial fleets fell lower in June and July after hitting new records in March, April and May. The average price received for these units at auction remains well above year-ago levels.

Considering the bleak economic backdrop however, the new- and used-vehicle markets bucked the trend, performing well in July. The pace of new vehicle sales moved up modestly and dealer sales of used vehicles increased by 9 percent from a year ago. Although wholesale prices declined in July, they remain at historically high levels.

Wholesale used vehicle prices fell for a second consecutive month in July. The magnitude and duration of the previous run up in wholesale pricing means that used-vehicle values are still at historically high levels.

In addition, there was positive news for new- and used-vehicle sales:

- July used vehicle retail sales were up 9 percent, including a 19 percent increase in certified pre-owned vehicles.

- July new vehicle sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 11.55 million compared to 11.1 million in the first half of 2010.