July/August 2021 Kontos Kommentary: Current Used Vehicle Market Conditions


For the second month in a row, average wholesale used vehicle prices fell on a month-over-month basis in July and appear to have moderated to what are still historically high levels well into August.

Retail used vehicle sales and CPO sales have also moderated from their spring peaks but remain at high levels.


According to KAR Global Analytical Services’ monthly analysis of wholesale used vehicle prices by vehicle model class, wholesale prices in July averaged $14,250 – down 2.7% compared to June, up 6.5% relative to July 2020, and up 24.4% compared to pre-COVID/July 2019 as seen in the table below.

All segments except fullsize vans and compact pickups, which are small segments volume-wise, showed month-over-month declines in average prices.

When holding constant for sale type, model-year-age, mileage, and model class segment — using criteria that characterize off-lease units — prices in July were up significantly versus July 2020 and July 2019 for both midsize cars and midsize SUV/CUVs, as seen in the following table:

The following graph shows trends in average prices by major vehicle type and in total by week through August 15 using the same criteria:

*Compared to corresponding week in 2019 rather than 2020.

After rising rapidly through the spring months, price increases have generally moderated to an overall level of nearly 40% above pre-COVID averages. Pickup trucks have seen the greatest price moderation.

Based on NADA data, retail used vehicle sales by franchised and independent dealers in July were up 7.5% month-over-month but down 2.7% year-over-year. Year-to-date through July, sales are up 15.2% versus 2020 and 2.1% compared to 2019/pre-pandemic levels.

Similarly, CPO sales were up 4.0% from the prior month but down 2.7% versus last year, according to figures from Autodata. On a year-to-date basis through July, CPO sales remain up 14.4% compared to last year and 4.3% versus 2019.

Additional retail sales trends are available via KAR Global’s Interactive Dashboards.

Source: Analysis is based on over seven million annual sales transactions from over 250 of the largest U.S. wholesale auto auctions, including those of ADESA as well as other auction companies. KAR Global Analytical Services segregates these transactions to study trends by vehicle model class, sale type, model year, etc.

Disclaimer: The views and analysis provided herein relate to the vehicle remarketing industry as a whole and may not relate directly to KAR Global. The views and analysis are not the views of KAR Global, its management or its subsidiaries; and their accuracy is not warranted.

Forward-Looking Statements: The statements contained in this report and statements that the company may make orally in connection with this report that are not historical facts (including, but not limited to, expectations, estimates, assumptions and projections regarding the industry and business) may be forward-looking statements. Words such as “should,” “may,” “will,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “promises”, “likely to” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results projected, expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include those matters disclosed in the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

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