October/November 2021 Kontos Kommentary: Current Used Vehicle Market Conditions

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Wholesale prices rose to a new monthly record above $16,000 in October and have continued to exceed that threshold well into November.  The average price of a vehicle sold at physical auctions is now more than $5,000 higher than this same time in pre-pandemic 2019.

In addition to tight used vehicle supply and lack of new vehicle inventory due to the chip shortage, wholesale used vehicle values have benefitted from strong demand from rental companies that lack availability of new vehicles to place into fleet service.

Retail used vehicle sales improved in October, but CPO sales softened — perhaps due to late-model used vehicle supply limitations.


According to KAR Global Analytical Services’ monthly analysis of wholesale used vehicle prices by vehicle model class, wholesale prices in October averaged $16,318 — up 5.0% compared to September, up 30.4% relative to October 2020, and up 46.5% compared to pre-COVID/October 2019 as seen in the table below.

Prices rose for all model classes except compact pickups, which had a modest decline from high levels.

When holding constant for sale type, model-year-age, mileage, and model class segment — using criteria that characterize off-lease units — prices in October were up versus 2020 and 2019 even more dramatically for midsize cars than for 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 November 14 using the same criteria:

Overall average prices are now more than 60% above pre-COVID averages for this select group of vehicles.

Based on NADA data, retail used vehicle sales by franchised and independent dealers in October were up 3.5% month-over-month and up 0.5% year-over-year.  Year-to-date through October, sales are up 9.6% versus 2020 and up 1.5% compared to 2019/pre-pandemic levels.

October CPO sales were down 4.9% from the prior month and down 7.2% versus last year, according to figures from Autodata. On a year-to-date basis through October, CPO sales are up 8.5% compared to last year and up 1.8% versus 2019.

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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