The overall used-vehicle sales market was a bit slower in July, but the seasonally adjusted annualized rate is still tracking towards 40 million, and dealers are enjoying strong used-car operations.
Not to mention, the used retail SAAR was up from June and year-ago figures, and the public dealer groups are showing strength in used-car sales.
That’s according to two analyses this week from Cox Automotive, which pegged the used-vehicle SAAR at 39.7 million in July.
That compares to a July 2018 used-car SAAR of 40.1 million and a June 2019 used-car reading of 39.8 million, the company said in an analysis accompanying the latest Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index.
Cox Automotive said the used-retail SAAR in July was an estimated 20.1 million. In both June of this year and July of last, it was 19.8 million.
(The company explained that the used SAAR includes the entire used-car market, including private-party sales, whereas the used-retail SAAR only includes sales from franchised and independent dealers).
In a separate Data Point analysis released this week, Cox Automotive pointed out that amid a slower new-vehicle sales environment (the has been a 2% decline year to date), there is a push towards used — including the public franchised dealer groups.
“Affordability concerns driven by higher vehicle prices, and interest rates have reduced the pool of people who can afford to buy new,” Cox Automotive said of the market shift from new to used. “With attractive off-lease supply available, the used-vehicle market is benefiting from robust demand. In fact, supply is more of a concern in the used-vehicle market than demand.”
As far as the publics specifically, the company said a “crystal clear” trend emerged: “New sales are down; used sale are up.”
Aggregate same-store new-car sales for the six publics (Asbury Automotive Group, Group 1, Lithia Motors, Penske Automotive Group, Sonic Automotive and AutoNation) were down 5.8% in the second quarter, Cox said, citing its own estimates and company filings.
Meanwhile, same-store used-car sales in Q2 were up 6.3% for these retailers.
“Consistent in their filings was recognition that the used-car business was one of the bright spots last quarter,” Cox said.
Analysts later added: “In total, the large dealer groups are selling more used units which follows general industry guidelines for dealer operations. How much they can skew to used-vehicle sales will be contingent on used-vehicle supply. And it will only get more difficult going forward, as the largest driver of high-demand, high-profit supply — off-lease units — are at their peak this year.”
According to a prior analysis from Cox Automotive, off-lease vehicle volume is expected to reach a peak of 4.1 million this year (up from 3.9 million last year) and then stay at that level in 2020.