The supply of used vehicles is lean as the spring selling season kicked off early and briskly this year, according to a recent Cox Automotive analysis of vAuto Available Inventory data.
“Used-vehicle sales have been up significantly, causing inventory to fall quickly in recent weeks and leaving dealers with especially tight inventories for the tax refund and spring selling season,” said Charlie Chesbrough, Cox Automotive senior economist, in a news release. Used-vehicle sales typically are strongest when consumers receive tax refunds, which are often used to support vehicle purchases, and through the spring.
The total supply of unsold used vehicles on dealer lots, both franchised dealers and independents, across the U.S. stood at 2.07 million units at the close of February. That was down from a revised 2.19 million at the end of January and down 21% from 2.6 million in February 2021.
The total days’ supply at the end of February stood at 41, down from the revised 49 days’ supply at the end of January. Days’ supply was 3% below the year-ago levels.
The Cox Automotive days’ supply is based on the daily sales rate for the most recent 30-day period. Sales were relatively strong, just ahead of the spring selling season, up 4% from a year ago. Sales for the full calendar month of February were down 12% but showed strength near the end of the month.
Used-vehicle prices slipped again in February to $26,068, down from the downwardly revised $26,324 at the end of January.
“Prices have been falling, but the tight supply might be providing some price support,” Chesbrough said. “Used prices may fall further, but it seems unlikely a massive decline will happen given the supply situation.”
As with new cars, the lower the price, the tighter the inventory. Days’ supply for vehicles priced under $10,000 was 31. Days’ supply for vehicles priced between $10,000 and $15,000 was 37, between $15,000 and $20,000 was 40 and $20,000 to $35,000 around 41. Vehicles priced above $35,000 had the highest days’ supply at 49.
Acura, BMW, Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Genesis, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Kia, Lexus, Mazda, Mercury, Mitsubishi and Toyota had days’ supply below 45.
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