CARMEL, IN - For the second consecutive month, average wholesale used-vehicle prices in March were above the $10,000 mark previously seen just once since 9/11, according to Tom Kontos, chief economist for ADESA Inc.

March was also the eighth consecutive month average prices were above year-ago levels. The key driver to recent price strength has been declines in new-vehicle incentives as some manufacturers reduced sticker prices. Retail sales of used vehicles were also up in March on a year-over-year basis, indicating the traditionally strong spring market has arrived - albeit a bit later and, so far, with less strenght than last year.

This retail demand has drawn down auction industry inventories somewhat from their peak earlier this year and sets the stage for possible continued seasonal price growth, according to Kontos.