Dealers hunt for holiday season bargains


Holiday shoppers are in the throes of finding bargains for gift giving. Dealers are in the same predicament in the lanes while looking for inventory, according to the latest observations from Black Book.

Along with what auction watchers described, this week’s Black Book Market Insights report showed both car and truck segments depreciating more than usual. Both segments overall softened in value by 0.64 percent and 0.65 percent, respectively.

Editors noticed only two vehicle categories maintained their value from last week — sub-compact crossovers and compact vans.

“After three months of relatively strong performance, seasonal slide of used vehicle values kicks into high gear,” said Anil Goyal, Black Book’s senior vice president of automotive valuation and analytics. 

Volume-weighted, Black Book determined overall car segment values decreased by 0.64 percent last week, higher than the average weekly decrease of 0.58 percent in values spotted during the previous four weeks.

Editors indicated the near-luxury car segment decreased in value at the highest rate among all the car segments at 0.92 percent or $139.

Volume-weighted, Black Book found that overall truck segment values — including pickups, SUVs and vans dropped by 0.65 percent last week, above the average weekly drop of 0.42 percent in values noticed during the previous four weeks.

Editors pointed out that the midsize luxury crossover/SUV and minivan segments dipped in value at the highest rate among all the truck segments, each sliding by 1.21 percent.

When it comes to lane activity, Black Book representatives reflected what the data revealed.

Down in Florida, a lane watcher said, “Late-model vehicles struggled to reach the remarketing floors while the older clean units brought good to excellent money.”

Another anecdote out of the Sunshine State noted, “As is always the case, the dealers gravitated toward the lanes where the consignors were selling off their inventory creating very sparse attendance in the others.”

In the Southeast, a certain kind of inventory kept auctioneers and ringmen busy with the Black Book representative stationed in Tennessee mentioning, “The buy here-pay here vehicles were the highest volume sellers today.”

Out West in California, the auction scene was described as “a typical December market with activity and conversion percentages down.”

Finally in Pennsylvania, Black Book's lane watcher reported, “The dealers here are optimistic about the end of year market and its chances of remaining fairly stable. This is especially true of the truck market.”

November data analysis

Black Book also sifted through its data for all of November and found that the average price of a used vehicle for model years 2012 through 2016 depreciated in value by 2.2 percent. Editors indicated cars dropped by 2.6 percent overall, and trucks decreased 1.8 percent in value during November.

Black Book added that all vehicles are averaging a 12-month depreciation rate of 13.2 percent.

Editors noticed that small pickups were the only vehicle category to increase in value during November, ticking up by 0.4 percent. Vehicles in the small pickup category include the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier and the Honda Ridgeline.

Small pickups ended the month with an average segment price of $21,454, a 6.8-percent drop from year-ago levels ($23,030).

Editors also mentioned sub-compact cars saw the largest decrease in value last month, depreciating by 3.7 percent. Vehicles in this segment include the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Kia Soul and the Hyundai Accent. This segment entered December with an average price of $6,211.

Black Book went on to note that full-size pickups saw the least depreciation from year-ago value levels. This segment, which closed out November with an average segment price of $24,020, has dropped only 4.3 percent from its value in November of 2016 ($25,111). Vehicles in this category include the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ram 1500, GMC Sierra 1500 and the Ford F-150.

“After steady used car values in October, vehicle values overall decreased slightly in November,” Goyal said. “Values typically drop slightly around the holiday season as we reach late into the year, especially right before the tax rebate checks begin to spur buying activity in the first quarter.”

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