Total used-vehicle sales in April are estimated to be near 3.1 million units, down 1.7% from April 2022, according to figures released this week from Cox Automotive.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR, is estimated to have finished near 34.5 million, down from last April’s 35.1 million level but up from March’s downwardly revised 34.2 million level.
“The supply of used vehicles at dealerships is near its lowest point in our data, which goes back to 2019," said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, in a news release. "Finding the right product at the right price is more challenging for used vehicle buyers today.”
Retail used-vehicle sales — the volume of vehicles sold via a dealership, thus removing private party sales — are estimated to be 1.6 million, down 1.2% from April 2022.
An early read of same-store Dealertrack data shows that used retail sales were weaker than this initial report shows and decreased by 7% year over year.
CPO Sales Waiver in April
Meanwhile, certified pre-owned (CPO) sales in April fell more year over year than the overall used retail market. CPO sales decreased 4.2%, or over 9,000 units, from April 2022 to finish at 214,684. This total is down nearly 15,000 units, a 6% drop from March’s number. Year-to-date CPO sales remain up 6% compared to 2022.
“April CPO sales took it on the chin compared to March, but the pace was healthier than either January or February,” said Chris Frey, senior manager of economic and industry insights at Cox Automotive, in a news release. “The current year-to-date sales pace of 213,000 is about 7,500 better than last year, but it’s also down by 21,000 from the pre-pandemic monthly average.”
Toyota had the highest CPO sales volume in April among the large manufacturers. Hyundai had the largest year-over-year percentage gain in CPO sales, while Chevrolet had the largest decline.
“Higher interest rates and the looming concerns of a recession likely contributed to the CPO sales decline, with buyers pulling back from last month,” Frey said. “We still think the strategy shift mentioned last month will pay off, with older units entering the mix, but after April’s sales decline from March, it looks to be a bit longer before we see sustained sales improvement from the larger pool of CPO-eligible units.”