Wholesale car prices plummet to close 2017


Black Book noticed that big crystal ball in Times Square wasn’t the only thing to make a noteworthy drop to wrap up 2017.

This week's edition of the Black Book Market Insights revealed cars softening in value by a record 0.78 percent. Editors determined that midsize cars saw the highest depreciation with a 1.18-percent decrease in value. The compact segment wasn’t far off that pace with a drop of 0.93 percent.

Conversely, Black Book pointed out that small pickups in the truck segment performed the best out of all vehicle categories, maintaining their value from the previous week.

“The last full week of 2017 saw the steepest decline of the year in the overall car segment,” said Anil Goyal, Black Book’s senior vice president of automotive valuation and analytics.

While cars made their volume-weighted, record decline of 0.78 percent — easily representing the highest weekly depreciation rate of the year — editors indicated overall truck segment values (including pickups, SUVs and vans) declined by 0.54 percent. That figure was in line with the average weekly adjustment of 0.57 percent spotted during the previous four weeks.

Black Book reported that the subcompact luxury crossover segment performed the worst, decreasing by 1.38 percent.

While Ryan Seacrest might not have announced the car price drop like the festivities in New York City for New Year’s Eve, Black Book collected anecdotes from the lanes in three different parts of the country, beginning in Texas

“The sellers were holding firm on their floors hoping for an early spring market after the first of the year. This pattern resulted in many no-sales,” Black Book’s lane watcher in the Lone Star said.

Two more reports originated out of the Southeast with the representative in South Carolina stating, “Vehicles under $10,000 sold well, and the attendance was OK,” while down in Florida, the story was, “Dealers are being extra careful not to overspend which is a normal exercise for this time of year.”

Finally up in Pennsylvania where some parts of the state have measured recent snowfall in feet, Black Book’s personnel said, “No-sales seemed to rule the day, although the less expensive cleaner units did OK.”

Update on the specialty markets

As it does on a monthly basis, Black Book shared how the specialty markets are behaving. Here is the rundown:

— Collectible cars: Editors said, “We’ve been looking forward to it for months, and Arizona Auction Week is now here. Hundreds of thousands of collectors, enthusiasts, and dealers are on their way to sunny Scottsdale to attend auctions hosted by Barrett-Jackson, Russo and Steele, RM Sotheby’s, Bonham’s, Gooding, Silver, and Worldwide.”

— Recreational vehicles: Last month, Black Book noted that the values for towable and motorized units had moved in different directions for the first time in several months.

— Powersports markets: Black Book highlighted that the powersports market is entering the 2018 on a positive note. “Most of the segment changes are fairly modest this month, with both cruisers and off-road bikes up a bit, marking an early beginning for the spring selling season,” editors said.

— Heavy duty: Black Book reiterated that key factors for late-model heavy-duty value retention has been condition, mileage and good specifications. “But those attributes play a factor now more than ever,” editors added.

— Medium duty: Black Book closed by noting the medium-duty wholesale market continues its downward trend as the industry opens its doors for 2018. Editors mentioned that this past month, late-model units from 2015 and 2016) dropped by a weighted average of $296 or 0.6 percent, which is less than the previous five months.     

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