GAINESVILLE, GA - The activity on the auction lanes continues to be extremely strong with most lanes, markets, and vehicle segment types garnering much attention and strong bids resulting in increasing used values, according Ricky Beggs, VP and managing editor for Black Book. The most frequent comments from dealers are that they are “having to pay too much” or “paying more than they did a month or 6 weeks earlier”. A lack of supply continues to drive the market.

"Our adjustments, during the past week, after looking at significant volumes of auction data, support all of the earlier mentioned dealer comments," said Beggs. "Last week, Black Book editors adjusted just over 1100 vehicles each day, which was an increase over the 730-plus each day as compared to the previous week. For the month of February there was an average of just over 1200 vehicles adjusted per day."

During the week of March 1st, 63 percent of the models adjusted were increases in value for both the Clean and Average condition values, according to Beggs. The average increase remained steady as compared to the previous week at +$176. Those 37 percent that decreased took a larger hit than in previous adjustments, dropping an average of -$213.

"For the overall average change of all adjusted vehicles, there was an increase of just over $39 for Clean Condition and just over $23 for Average Condition values," noted Beggs. "For both car and truck segments, the movement in values compared to the previous week were both positive movements. 2 segments – Premium Sporty Cars (PSC) and Compact Cars (SCC) – had an increase in average value. These were the first increases of any car segments for this calendar year and also the closest overall car change to the $0 baseline since the first week of November 2009."

The truck segments finished in positive territory for the second consecutive week. This was driven with 7 of the 14 truck segment types being above the $0 baseline, according to Black Book. These versatile model types could be supported somewhat by the price levels of gas, which fortunately has remained mostly stable for quite some time.

Since the repaired recalled Toyota products started to appear back on the auction lanes and dealers used car lots, Black Book has seen increased attention at most auction locations for the Toyota products.

"The most positive attention bringing increased selling prices were reflected in the trucks, CUVs and SUVs. At least one auction this past week indicated the demand on some of the car models from Toyota weakened somewhat," said Beggs. "This was not prevalent at all auctions, but did catch our attention. Is there still a little hesitancy on the retail lots by the consumer, thus lowering the wholesale interest?"

Black Book has reported more market-based used values on some limited volume vehicles and respective trim levels within the guides. A few of these were for 2010 models. "For now, these 2010 used values will only appear in the electronic Black Book products. The 2010 line ups and used values will appear in the printed guides for the May products," said Beggs.

Black Book’s online computer generated new car sales leads significantly increased activity over the past week. "With these tools available on over 7,000 new car dealers’ Web sites, as well as numerous OEM generated sites, a potential retail customer has accurate market driven trade-in values when he/she is contacted, contacts, or arrives at the new car dealership," said Beggs. "This increased activity with well over 7,300 complete leads in just one day indicated a potential trade in or even a used car sales opportunity. Now is the time to be ready to increase your inventory and to be prepared with the most current market values when those trade ins do arrive."