Black Book notices continued price retention strength shown by smaller cars


How this year’s atypical spring market is unfolding left its stamp again on Black Book’s latest depreciation update.

According to Black Book data, the average price of a used vehicle for model years 2012 through 2016 depreciated in value by 0.4 percent, an improvement from February’s level of 1.1 percent due to a continued stronger-than-expected spring selling season.

Editors noticed cars increased in value by 0.6 percent, while trucks decreased 1.1 percent. Black Book determined all vehicles are averaging a 12-month change of 15.0 percent.

For the second straight month, Black Book pointed out that sub-compact luxury CUVs showed the largest depreciation in March at 2.6 percent. In February, the reading was 2.8 percent.

Vehicles in sub-compact luxury crossover segment include the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes Benz GLA Class and the Mini Cooper Countryman. Vehicles in this segment finished March with an average price of $14,727, a 21.0-percent drop from year-ago levels.

Including sub-compact luxury CUVs, trucks represented the top five largest depreciating segments, including:

— Compact luxury CUV/SUV: down 2.5 percent
— Full-size crossover/SUV: down 2.3 percent
— Full-size luxury CUV/SUV: down 1.8 percent
— Mid-size luxury CUV/SUV: down 1.6 percent

Editors mentioned compact cars finished the month with the strongest retention with a rise of 2.5 percent. Vehicles in the compact car segment include the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta, Nissan Sentra and the Hyundai Elantra.

Vehicles in this segment finished the month with an average price of $8,012, just a 14.3-percent drop-off from a year ago.

Sub-compact cars (up 1.3 percent) and sporty cars (up 1.0 percent) also increased by at least one percent.

The only truck segment to show an increase during March was the compact crossover/SUV at 0.1 percent. Vehicles in the compact crossover/SUV segment include the Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Toyota Rav4 and the Jeep Wrangler.

Vehicles in this segment finished March with an average price of $11,758, a 14.0-percent softening from a year ago.

“Spring continues to show a strong quarter for many smaller car segments, mostly because these vehicles are being offered at a great value at auction,” said Anil Goyal, executive vice president of operations at Black Book.

“This level of activity is expected to last just a few more weeks before depreciation trends return to a more normal pattern, particularly for cars,” Goyal added.

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