ATLANTA and CARMEL, IN — Average auction prices in April, according to ADESA Analytical Services’ monthly analysis of wholesale used-vehicle prices by vehicle model class, were up 4.8 percent from year-ago levels.

Average prices were virtually flat (down 0.6 percent) compared to March. For the 10th consecutive month, compact cars had the strongest year-over-year price gains (17.8 percent), and full-size SUVs had the sharpest year-over-year price declines (-4.5 percent), in part due to high gas prices.

The ADESA auction inventory index recovered quite a bit in April, rising from 78.3 to 94.6 during the month. The index remains down 2.5 percent from its year-ago level of 97.1. ADESA Analytical Services estimates this represents approximately 26 days of auction sales – up from 21 last month. The rising inventories may mean that price increases in May will be more modest.

At Manheim, wholesale used-vehicle prices on a mix, mileage, and seasonally adjusted basis continued their upward movement in April, but at a slower pace than either February or March. The Manheim used-vehicle value index rose to a level of 112.9, up from 112.2 in March. Over the past year, wholesale prices have risen 4.9 percent and they have increased 10.3 percent from the April 2003 cyclical trough. Wholesale prices fell 0.5 percent in April on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, but that was less than the normal seasonal decline that occurs between March and April.

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