Sales Reports

6 Import Brands Achieve All-Time CPO Highs


All-time record certified pre-owned sales were reached for six import brands last month, according to Autodata Corp., which also highlighted nice gains overall for European- and Asian-brand programs in May.

In its latest recap of CPO sales, Autodata said these import brands had best-ever CPO results:  Infiniti, Lexus, Mini, Nissan, Porsche and Subaru.

Plus, Autodata said, Volvo sales were at a recent high.

Overall, Asian-brand dealers sold 107,870 CPO units for the month (up 8.3 percent), with year-to-date sales hitting 482,578. That beats the year-ago pace by 6.7 percent.

European brands reported 43,286 certified sales in May, beating May 2014 figures by 11.9 percent. Five-month figures stood at 185,813 units, an 11.6-percent increase.

Big 3 CPO Sales Approach 400,000


Two of the Big 3 automakers posted best-ever certified pre-owned sales figures last month, and collectively, domestic brands have moved nearly 400,000 CPO units this year.

That’s the latest from Autodata Corp., which has released its monthly recap of industry-wide certified sales.

The industry as a whole had its best CPO month ever. As for the Big 3, they combined to sell 81,686 CPO units in May, which beat year-ago figures by nearly 18 percent, according to Autodata.

Through five months, they moved 394,449 certified vehicles for an 18.2-percent increase.

Breaking all-time CPO records, Autodata said, were Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

The brands at Ford combined to move 26,097 certified vehicles in May, which marked an 11.7-percent year-over-year increase.

Through five months, they’ve sold 119,528 CPO vehicles for a 9.5-percent upswing.

Excluding Fiat results, the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram brands at FCA moved 16,579 certified units in May (up 29 percent) and have sold 74,646 CPO vehicles in five months (up 26.3 percent).

With Fiat sales included, FCA moved 16,661 CPO units for the month, a 29.2-percent increase. The five-month total is at 75,000 units, up 26.6 percent from last year’s pace.

(The aforementioned Big 3 total does not include Fiat figures).

At General Motors, there were 36,916 CPO sales of Buick, Chevrolet, GMC, Pontiac and Saturn vehicles in May, which beat year-ago figures by 18.2 percent. Year-to-date sales are at 189,515 units (up 20.8 percent).

4 Million-Plus Used Cars Sold in May

McLEAN, Va. - 

The National Automobile Dealers Association announced today that used-vehicle sales surpassed 4 million units across all retail channels for the month of May.

Although this year's May sales of roughly 4.02 million units passed last year's May sales of an even 4 million, this brought the year’s tally just past 14 million used cars and light trucks, putting 2015’s pace thus far just slightly behind 2014’s, where total used sales passed 14.1 million units by the end of May 2014.

“Private-party sales of used vehicles have declined this year,” said Steven Szakaly, NADA’s chief economist. “The cold winter combined with a wetter than usual spring dampened sales by individuals. New-car dealers, on the other hand, clearly benefitted from the increase consumer traffic during Memorial Day sales events that brought new car buyers in to shop for both new and used vehicles.”

To put that in perspective, new-vehicle dealers sold 1.52 million used units in May, a 3.6 percent increase year-over-year, while used-car dealers and private-party sales each declined 1.6 percent, respectively, compared to 2014.

Used-vehicle dealers sold 1.29 million vehicles in May; private parties sold 1.21 million units for the same month.

AutoNation Tallies 10 Millionth Vehicle Sale


AutoNation on Wednesday announced its new-vehicle sales count for the month of May, which eclipsed year-over-year numbers from last May by 5 percent, bringing the final tally to 31,777 new units.

This performance helped the nation’s largest automotive retailer to reach the milestone of 10 million total units sold, a feat the company says no other group has reached previously.

Perhaps the best takeaway, from a used-sales perspective to gauge buyer areas of interest, is the company’s breakdown of the types of new units sold last month:

  • 9,878 domestic units, up 6 percent year-over-year
  • 15,297 import units, down 1 percent year-over-year
  • 6,602 premium luxury units, up 18 percent year-over-year

In celebration of the sale of its 10 millionth vehicle, AutoNation also announced that it is giving away three vehicles, one each in Florida, Texas and California. In connection with the giveaway, the company is also hosting a sweepstakes where the grand prize winner will be given a 1 in 100 chance to win $10 million via a drawing. If the grand prize winner does not win the cash prize, they will receive a new Honda Accord.

The grand prize winner, along with a select group of peer-nominated AutoNation associates, will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Sonoma, Calif. to participate in the 2015 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. Entry into the sweepstakes is on the company’s .

In other AutoNation news, the group recently announced the launch of its own brand of vehicle service contract, titled the “AutoNation Vehicle Protection Plan,” to be sold in all of its domestic and import stores.

Mike Jackson, the company’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, shared his thoughts on the new plan, which is offered in partnership with The Warranty Group.

“Offering a private-label service contract is the next logical step in our ‘Coast to Coast’ branding initiative that we launched two years ago,” Jackson said. “This marks the beginning of branding our customer protection products with the AutoNation name.

“The AutoNation Vehicle Protection Plan provides best-in-class coverage for our customers,” Jackson added. “When paired with the existing AutoNation pre-paid maintenance program, it adds another layer of trust and confidence in the AutoNation brand.”

4 Stats Showing Used-Car Market Strength

SANTA MONICA, Calif.  - 

If there’s any doubt to how much the used-car market has grown post-recession, consider the following data from that compares used sales data from the first quarters of 2010 and 2015, respectively.

Sourced from Edmunds’ , these four statistics give a clear indication of how strong the market has become:

  • Nearly 10 Million Used Sales: In the first quarter of 2015, there were 9.81 million total used-vehicle sales, according to Edmunds. That represents a 3.25-percent increase over Q1 figures from 2010.
  • Franchised Used Sales Up Over 36 percent: Franchised dealers sold 2.85 million used vehicles in Q1 of this year, which beats first-quarter numbers from 2010 by 36.70 percent.
  • More than 66 percent Hike in CPO Sales: There were 614,400 certified pre-owned sales in the first quarter.  That is 66.35 percent stronger than CPO sales in the same period of 2010 and represents the best-ever first quarter for the market.
  • CPO Commands Greater Share of Franchised Used: Certified vehicles accounted for 17.7 percent of franchised dealers’ used sales in the opening quarter of 2010; this past quarter, that share climbed to 21.6 percent.

For more insight from Edmunds' report, catch up on our full coverage with these stories:
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Impact of Strong Dollar, Lower Scrap Values on Copart Q3


Copart reported its financial results for its fiscal third quarter ending April 30 on Wednesday, highlighting the impact of how the strengthening U.S. dollar and lower scrap values affected its year-over-year results.

The company experienced a year-over-year decrease in revenue and gross margin along with a substantial increase in net income for the quarter.

Third quarter revenue came in at $297.1 million, a 4.1 percent year-over-year decrease, while gross margin fell 3.7 percent to $127.4 million. One notable jump, a 40.8-percent increase, came in the form of net income, which sprang to $57.6 million, or a $16.7 million increase.

Will Franklin, the company’s chief financial officer, attributed the fall in revenue to a decline in auction average selling price during Copart’s earnings conference call on Thursday.

“The decline in ASPs resulted from lower commodity pricing and the impact of the stronger dollar,” Franklin said. “In April 2014, the index for crushed car bodies, as issued by American Recycler, stood at $273 per ton. That same index was at $143 per ton at the end of April 2015. We believe this index to be highly correlated to dismantler and junk buyers behavior.”

Franklin went on to explain that the increased value of the dollar has contributed to weaker sales internationally.

“The strengthening dollar suppress participation of our international buyers as the percentage of units sold to international buyers was the lowest since our third quarter of fiscal 2009,” Franklin said. “And the percentage of value sold to international buyers was lowest since our first quarter for 2005.”

Jay Adair, the company’s chief executive officer, expects that the drop in average selling prices is just about as low as it should go, but expects them to stay low for a while.

“Looking at May data, average selling price has dropped again, but we believe we are currently at the bottom in terms of where salvage values will end up for the fourth quarter,” Adair said. “Additionally, we expect this trend of low ASPs to continue into our future quarters and do not anticipate that average selling price will bounce back in the next couple of quarters. We believe the cause of this lower ASP or average selling price is due primarily to lower scrap prices and softer international bidding.”

At Least 3 Million Used Sales Likely for May

SANTA MONICA, Calif.  - 

Look for the used-car market to finish with at least 3 million sales this month.

An analysis of May retail sales from TrueCar said it’s possible the monthly used-car sales total will beat 3.14 million units. This would be a 2.7-percent year-over-year increase.

At, their analysts’ monthly report was calling for about 3.0 million used sales in May. This would result in a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 36.7 million.

AuSM reached out to a few dealers on Friday afternoon to see how used sales were faring for their respective stores and markets. 

In the Chicago area, Infiniti of Naperville was seeing its used-car sales fall about 15 percent year-over-year for May, while its year-to-date tally is down by the same amount, says Steve Camp, the store’s executive manager.

However, the Lisle Auto Plaza Group that Infiniti of Naperville belongs to has seen its used sales climb 5 percent year-to-date. Not to mention, Infiniti of Naperville saw more than 20-percent growth in used sales for both 2013 and 2014, Camp said.

The dealership is doing its due diligence to figure out what may be leading to this dip. 

“We’re digging in deep and trying to find out what the root cause is,” Camp said.

Meanwhile, 300- miles to the Southeast, Rick Ricart is seeing a different market in Columbus, Ohio.

“May is shaping up to be the greatest single used-car month in company history, with the single-point Used Car Factory (Ricart Ford) on pace for 837 retail sales with three days left in the month,” said Ricart, the vice president of sales and marketing for the Ricart Auto Group.

“The ‘perfect storm’ of a strong market, especially with lenders willing to finance at aggressive rates and higher risk, the available inventory of off-lease late model cars has led to huge opportunity,” Ricart added. “I see the market taking a dip and June, but a strong July and August to finish the summer.

Over at Cavender Toyota in San Antonio, used-car sales director Ray Sanabia said the store sold 434 used vehicles in May for a 22.3-percent year-over-year gain, but they were “disappointed” in the 1.6-percent month-over-month decrease. That said, Sanabia is expecting big things in June.

“Locally we experience record rainfall, which was accompanied by hail and flooding,” Sanabia said. “With the weather issues behind us, we are expecting a strong June 2015 with our biggest challenge being able to find inventory.”

What the Market Did in April 

Looking back to earlier this spring, there were 3.2 million used-car sales in April, Edmunds said, a sum which represented a 36.4 million SAAR.

In the latest Manheim Auto Industry Brief, Cox Automotive chief economist Tom Webb shared some additional data on April’s used retail environment, citing NADA statistics.

According to NADA, Webb said, there was a 5-percent increase in total used retail sales for April. Franchised dealers lifted their sales 8 percent, he added, while independents climbed 6 percent, and private-party sales increased 2 percent. 

NADA pinpointed the April used sales figure at nearly 3.6 million units (up 5.3 percent year-over-year) and 3.22 million seasonally adjusted.

“The spring effect is real. For the last three years, we have seen sales pick up significantly in April,” said Steven Szakaly, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association, when NADA released those results. “Whether it’s the warmer weather or an improving selection of vehicles, April is typically a strong sales month.”

Nearly $82 Billion in NAAA-Auction Sales Last Year


Used-vehicle sales for National Auto Auction Association member auctions totaled 8.7 million units in 2014, a sum worth $81.8 billion.

The results, which came from the association’s 18th annual survey, also found the number of vehicles that entered its member auctions rose by 3.6 percent to 15.7 million units, and the number of units sold increased by 6.2 percent.

“The 2014 results are encouraging,” said Frank Hackett, NAAA’s chief executive officer. “The survey results show the strength and depth of a mature industry that has demonstrated its resiliency. I’m confident we’ll continue to be a vital and growing part of our nation’s economy in the decades to come.”

The survey was conducted by CliftonLarsonAllen LLP of Arlington, Va., on behalf of the NAAA, with an 80-percent response rate representing 262 of the NAAA’s 329 member auctions.

Dealer consignment vehicles accounted for 58.2 percent of the units sold, while finance and fleet (lease, fleet and repo) made up 35.3 percent followed by manufacturers (factory) vehicles (5.8 percent) and other sources (0.7 percent).

The NAAA’s average member auction operates an eight-lane facility on a 78-acre space and employs 137 people with a payroll of $3.8 million. Each contributes, on average, $8,000 annually to charity.

For more information about the NAAA and its members, visit the association’s .

NADA on Used Sales: 'Spring Effect is Real'

McLEAN, Va. and ATLANTA  - 

The “spring effect” is in full effect, and the used-car market continues to churn out high numbers.

With close to 3.6 million used-vehicle sales in April, there have now been nearly 10 million used cars sold so far this year, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The April used-car sales total represented a 5.3-percent year-over-year gain, while year-to-date sales (which NADA measured as just over 9.98 million through four months) have dipped 1.3 percent.

Breaking down that April monthly sales figure, NADA said franchised dealers moved 1.34 million used cars in April, beating the March figure by 39.4 percent. There were 1.18 million used vehicles sold by independents, which beat prior-month numbers by 36.7 percent. 

Meanwhile, there were 1.07 million private-party sales, beating the March figure by 45.2 percent.

“The used-vehicle market, like the new-vehicle market, remains strong,” said Steven Szakaly, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

 “The same factors that are boosting new-car sales are also increasing used-car sales,” Szakaly said. “Low finance rates, low gasoline prices and improving economic conditions are driving demand for used vehicles.”

Seasonally adjusted, NADA pinpointed the April used sales figure at 3.22 million units, an 8.9-percent sequential lift.

“The spring effect is real. For the last three years, we have seen sales pick up significantly in April,” Szakaly added. “Whether it’s the warmer weather or an improving selection of vehicles, April is typically a strong sales month.”

Manheim chief economist Tom Webb observed as much in the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index report.

Following the 23rd straight quarter that the seven publicly traded dealership groups increased their same-store used unit retail sales, April remained robust for the used-car market, Webb said in the report.

“All indications are that the healthy sales environment continued in April. We know for certain that was true for CPO sales, which were up 11.3 percent in April and 11.4 percent year to date,” Webb said.

“Dealers selling lower-priced units were hampered by a less-than-stellar tax refund season. Despite an uptick in the third week of April, total tax refunds received through April 24 were down 1.1 percent, or $2.9 billion, from a year ago,” he added.

Going back to Webb’s point on the public retailers, their first-quarter same-store used unit retail sales climbed 6.7 percent, he noted. Additionally, the seven publics had a slight dip in gross margins, but achieved record high net profits.

Dealer Group Used Sales Jump for 23rd Straight Quarter


Manheim chief economist Tom Webb crunched the first-quarter reports of the seven publicly traded dealership groups — CarMax, AutoNation, Penske Automotive Group, Sonic Automotive, Group 1 Automotive, Asbury Automotive Group and Lithia Motors — and determined these companies enjoyed a same-store increase in retail used-unit deliveries for the 23rd consecutive quarter.

Webb also computed that the sales-weighted same-store unit gain for the quarter came in at 6.7 percent.  Adding in store acquisitions, Webb noticed total used retail volume for the seven groups climbed by 12.3 percent year-over-year.

These group’s gross margins, “which have been trending down for some time,” according to Webb, tumbled again in the first quarter. Webb pinpointed the reading at 9.6 percent.

“That represented a normal seasonal uptick from the fourth quarter’s 9.2 percent margin, but was down from the 9.8 percent margin posted in the first quarter of 2014,” Webb said in with Manheim Consulting.

Furthermore, Webb noted that the average used-vehicle selling price for these dealer groups rose 1.2 percent to $20,457 in Q1.

“This reflected a richer mix of units and a higher share of sales accounted for by certified units,” Webb said. “Higher sales prices and steady margins combined with increased operating efficiencies to produce record profits.

“It’s those profit opportunities that kept dealers bidding at auction,” he went on to say.

Webb pointed out that for his analysis, CarMax’s December-February fiscal quarter was shifted forward one month to correspond to the calendar quarter.