Why Black Book and GM Financial see ‘steady’ and ‘stable’ wholesale market

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. and FORT WORTH, Texas - 

Leaders from Black Book and General Motors Financial recently used the adjectives “steady” and “stable” when describing how the wholesale market is behaving.

The latest Black Book Market Insights report indicated used vehicles across most segments are depreciating at a “steady” rate. Editors determined only two vehicle segments — compact vans and sub-compact luxury crossovers — maintained or increased their value.

“Used-vehicle prices and sale conversion rates at the auctions hold firm. Post-hurricane sales activity continues but is slowing down in the Houston region,” said Anil Goyal, Black Book’s senior vice president of automotive valuation and analytics.

GM Financial president and chief executive officer Dan Berce touched on the used-vehicle space when the captive conducted its conference call to discuss its third-quarter performance.

“And a few more comments on the state of the used-car market. Our disposition proceeds on returned leased vehicles compared to estimates at origination in the September 2017 quarter were generally stable both year-over-year and sequentially,” Berce said.

“And based on recent used-car pricing trends that have remained more favorable than previously expected and the temporary impact from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we now expect used-car prices to decline less than 7 percent during 2017 compared to 2016, which was our previous guidance. But we do continue to expect the increased supply of used-car vehicles to pressure used vehicles into 2018,” Berce went on to say.

Getting back to Black Book’s latest analysis, editors noticed that based on volume-weighted information, overall car segment values decreased by 0.37 percent last week, similar to the average weekly decrease of 0.41 percent in values they spotted during the previous four weeks.

Black Book pointed out that the sub-compact car and compact car segments were the best performers last week.

Again looking at volume-weighted data, editors noted that overall truck segment values (including pickups, SUVs and vans) softened by 0.21 percent last week, nearly mimicking the similar the average weekly dip of 0.24 percent in values recorded during the previous four weeks.

While minivans declined the most, Black Book mentioned there was renewed demand for compact vans.

Turning next to what Black Book’s representatives shared from the lanes, the rundown began the same as it has since early September with an update on what’s happening in Texas.

“Post-hurricane sales activity continues in the Houston area. Several new buyers from just outside the Houston metro are showing up to purchase inventory at the auctions,” Black Book’s lane watcher in the Lone Star State said.

Where storms also hit, the story is slightly different.

“Older cars seem to be the focus for many dealers in our market. Buyers are being more selective in recent weeks.” Black Book’s representative stationed in Florida said.

Black Book also gathered two other anecdotes from the Southeast.

— From Tennessee: “Nice, clean vehicles with a little age on them continue to thrive. This is especially the situation with the pickup truck market.”

— From Georgia: “A good sale for this time of year, and the prices were consistently solid.”

Two other reports from the lanes originated in locations where the weather already has turned much cooler.

— From Pennsylvania: “Sales conversions and prices continue to hold firm.”

— From Indiana: “Retail remains pretty good here, but prices have slipped a little as has the consignment.”

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