October 2020 Kontos Kommentary: Current Used Vehicle Market Conditions


Average wholesale used vehicle prices fell from their August peaks for the second month in a row in October. Dealer demand has dropped largely because inventories of new and used vehicles have started to rebound, giving franchised dealers in particular, more selection to offer retail customers. Retail used vehicle sales, in turn, have slowed as stimulus money has evaporated. Nevertheless, prices overall remain up by double-digits on a year-over-year basis and versus pre-COVID.


According to KAR Global Analytical Services’ monthly analysis of wholesale used vehicle prices by vehicle model class, wholesale prices in October averaged $12,478 — down 3.5% compared to September, up 10.1% compared to pre-COVID/February and up 12.0% relative to October 2019, as seen in the table below.

All model classes showed monthly 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 were up on a year-over-year basis for midsize cars and midsize SUV/CUVs in October, 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 November on a year-over-year basis across all vehicle categories, especially pickup trucks.

October CPO sales were up 4.0% from the prior month and up 0.3% 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.

Related Content