November 2020 Kontos Kommentary: Current Used Vehicle Market Conditions


Average wholesale used vehicle prices fell from their August peaks for the third month in a row in November. Perhaps for the first time since COVID began, seasonal rather than other factors can be used to explain the monthly price trend in November, as the drop was typical for this Thanksgiving holiday month. Nevertheless, the double-digit year-over-year average price increase continues to reflect the market strength achieved during this pandemic from the unexpectedly tight balance between used vehicle supply and demand.


According to KAR Global Analytical Services’ monthly analysis of wholesale used vehicle prices by vehicle model class, wholesale prices in November averaged $12,161 — down 2.5% compared to October, up 7.3% compared to pre-COVID/February and up 11.3% relative to November 2019, as seen in the table below.

Pickup truck prices cooled the most in November, though they remain up by over 20% year-over-year.

When holding constant for sale type, model-year-age, mileage, and model class segment — using criteria that characterize off-lease units — prices were up by over eight percent on a year-over-year basis for both midsize cars and midsize SUV/CUVs in November, as seen in the following table:

The following graph shows trends in average prices throughout the pandemic, using the same criteria:

As the graph shows, wholesale auction prices remain strong into December on a year-over-year basis across all vehicle categories, especially pickup trucks.

November CPO sales were down 20.0% from the prior month and down 21.4% year-over-year, according to figures from Autodata. 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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