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Lack of demand pushing smaller car prices down at auction


Nobody is buying smaller used cars at auctions these days. Prices are falling as demand for SUVs and luxury vehicles continues to increase. Prices for smaller used cars have fallen by nearly 10% in the past three months.


Tuesday, Aug. 04, 2015, 01:13 PM UPDATED 5:00 PM By Auto Remarketing Staff


This week’s edition of Black Book Market Insights not only analyzed last week’s price movement in the lanes, but it also took into account trends seen over the past three months.

And one thing is clear. It’s not hard to figure out where consumer demand is headed these days, as the smaller car segments felt the heaviest depreciation over the last three months, while pickups, SUVs and crossovers continued to gain steam.

These trends were confirmed by buyers in the lanes, as Black Book analysts heard an auction attendee from Minnesota, say, “Car volume was greater than trucks at the auction today,” perhaps a result of more supply than current demand can cover.

And a buyer from Tennessee said he had seen “mostly below average prices on a lot of cars as dealers are dumping what they have had on their lots for too long.”

Looking at last week’s numbers first, the car segments saw average depreciation of 0.45 percent or $53, which is similar to the declines seen over the past 12 weeks.

“While car segments continued their steeper decline, luxury cars retained value better than other segments last week. compact pickup and compact SUV segments were bright spots,” said Anil Goyal, vice president of automotive valuation and analytics.

 Once again, smaller cars dropped the most last week and over the last three months.

The entry mid-size car segment saw the biggest price drop last week, with rates falling by 0.64 percent or $58. The full-size cars followed with a decline of 0.60 percent or $59, while compact car prices dropped by 0.60 percent, as well ($49).

Last week, the strongest price retention among the cars was seen in the prestige luxury car segment, which saw prices drop by only 0.18 percent or $55.

Interestingly, the entry-level cars didn’t drop much last week — a decline of 0.27 percent or $18 — but this segment suffered the worst over the past three months, dropping by 9 percent in value over that period.

Compact cars also saw significant decline over the past three months, with prices dropping by 8.6 percent, in part due to a market correction from tax season highs as well as a lag in consumer demand.

This segment was followed by the entry midsize cars (with a decline of 8.1 percent) and the upper midsize cars, which dropped in price by 7 percent over the past three months.

Taking a look at truck price movement, which has been much less dramatic, last week prices for trucks dropped by 0.19 percent or $31, which Black Book analysts pointed out is in line with depreciation seen over the past 12 weeks.

This past week, the best performing truck segment — as well as the only segment to boast appreciation — was the compact pickup group, which saw prices rise by a slight 0.02 percent or $2.

Next up was the compact SUVs, which saw prices drop by just 0.03 percent or $6. Full-size pickups continue to perform well, but the price drop last week was just above the average for trucks; the segment saw prices drop by 0.20 percent or $38.

The largest depreciation among trucks seen last week was among the midsize pickups, which experienced a decline of 0.39 percent or $46.

As far as three-month trends grow, the compact pickups, midsize pickups and full-size SUVs are tops, with prices for each of these segments dropping by less than 1 percent over the period.

Editor's Note: Check out our recent Q&A with Anil Goyal to learn even more about used-car pricing trends.

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