Car-value strength reflects approaching spring market


Black Book continues to see sprouts of the spring selling season germinate.

On this heels of updating its Used Vehicle Retention Index for January, this week’s Black Book Market Insights report showed some possible early signs of the spring selling season, with cars showing lower depreciation than trucks.

“It was a good week for mainstream car segments as tax season buying has begun with strong sales being reported at the auctions,” said Anil Goyal, executive vice president of operations at Black Book.

Volume-weighted, editors indicated that overall car segment values declined by 0.34 percent last week. In comparison, the market values for cars had decreased on average by 0.64 percent per week in the previous four weeks.

Among cars, Black Book noticed midsize car segment performed the best with values remaining nearly flat.

Again volume-weighted, editors determined overall truck segment values — including pickups, SUVs and vans — decreased by 0.50 percent last week, same as the average decrease of 0.50 percent per week in the previous four weeks.

Within the truck space, Black Book mentioned the full-size crossover/SUV segment performed the worst with values declining by 1.13 percent last week.

As Goyal referenced, dealers are starting to see retail activity improve, resulting in the need to go to the wholesale market to acquire necessary inventory.

In Indiana, Black Book’s lane watcher reported, “Higher quality vehicles continue to do well in all price ranges. Retail in our area has picked up a bit, which bodes well for a market climb.”

Another report out of the Midwest included similar themes as a Black Book representative shared, “The market is starting to make a positive move a little bit earlier than normal and should remain strong for quite a while.”

And in Pennsylvania, dealer also are seeing vehicles roll over the curb. Black Book’s auction attendee mentioned, “Several dealers indicated that business picked up last week, and judging by the quantity of buyers in the lanes and online this week I would have to agree.”

Moving to the South, Black Book’s other two reports from the lanes share more details about the approach of spring-market conditions.

From Florida: “Dealers were more aggressively trying to purchase inventory, but they were careful not to overpay.”

From Georgia: “We had a good sale today with a lot of activity in the lanes. Vehicles under around $12,000 were in the highest demand.”

Update on the specialty markets

As they do on a monthly basis, Black Book editors shared their assessment of the specialty markets. Here is the latest rundown:

—Collectible Cars: Black Book emphasized that January is considered a bellwether month for the collectible car industry, and “this year did not disappoint.”

Editors added, “Mecum got the ball rolling with nearly $100 million in total sales in Kissimmee, and the usual Arizona players kicked in nearly $250 million more.”

—Recreational Vehicles: Black Book reported RV values at auction, both motorized and towable, were stable last month, with changes of less than 2 percent.

—Powersports: Editors explained February brings a “mixed bag” to values in the powersports market.

After last month’s above average market performance for this time of year, Black Book noted only the cruiser and snowmobile segments exhibit gains for a second consecutive month.

—Heavy Duty: Editors mentioned the word in January that there was a shortage of trucks available to haul freight apparently caused an already volatile value trend to take an upward swing resulting in strong wholesale values.

—Medium Duty: Overall, Black Book noted the medium duty market stabilized during the last couple of months of 2017, and that trend continues for the first part of 2018.

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