Average wholesale used vehicle prices cracked the $14,000-mark for the first time ever in April and then proceeded to set new highs above $15,000 in May. This is the latest sign of the seemingly never-ending rise in wholesale values resulting from a deluge in demand and a drought in supply.
Retail used vehicle and CPO sales did slow down a bit in April, but it is unclear if sales were limited by demand or supply and nevertheless remained high.
According to KAR Global Analytical Services’ monthly analysis of wholesale used vehicle prices by vehicle model class, wholesale prices in April averaged $14,436 — up 5.9% compared to March, up 50% relative to April 2020, and up 25.7% compared to pre-COVID/April 2019 as seen in the table below.
Interestingly, compact cars and fullsize SUVs/CUVs both had month-over-month increases of above nine percent, exemplifying the breadth of demand across all used vehicle segments, small and large.
When holding constant for sale type, model-year-age, mileage, and model class segment — using criteria that characterize off-lease units — prices in April were up significantly on a year-over-year basis versus April 2020 and April 2019 for both midsize cars and midsize SUV/CUVs.
Average prices have been well above pre-COVID levels each week since the start of the year, regardless of vehicle type and generally at an increasing rate.
Based on NADA data, retail used vehicle sales by franchised and independent dealers in April were down 13.3% month-over-month and down 8.1% versus April 2019/pre-COVID sales. CPO sales were down 10.1% from the prior month but up 9.8% versus April 2019/pre-COVID levels, according to figures from Autodata. Additional retail sales trends are available via KAR Global’s Interactive Dashboards.