GAINESVILLE, GA - The strong used-vehicle demand and activity that began the second week of November has continued throughout December and continues to be driven by the strong demand to replace the damaged and destroyed vehicles of Hurricane Sandy. The storm continues to be a factor as evidenced by a comment from one of the Black Book survey personnel from Pennsylvania as he said, “Sandy is pushing prices.”

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Ricky Beggs, VP and managing editor for Black Book responded, "Why else would we be having over 30-percent of the adjustments being increases for each of the past 5 weeks during this time of the year, with a 42-percent rate this past week?"

Within the 10 car segments the -$43 average segment change is the lowest declining weekly mark over the past four weeks. Six of the 10 car segments, ranging from the Entry Level Cars to the Prestige Luxury Cars, had their smallest weekly decline over the past month.

"One year ago the car market was not as strong at a -$52 average segment change. This year, only three of the individual segments had larger declines than a year ago, the Luxury Level Cars, the Premium Sporty Cars and the Upper Mid-size Cars," according to Beggs. "And, then again, the seemingly annual catastrophic events from last year didn’t force the volume of cars that had to be replaced like Sandy has."

For the overall truck segment change, this past week was a positive change of +$5. This is the first time a positive change has appeared since a 5 week run of increases from March 9 through April 6, 2012.

"Right after Hurricane Sandy, Black Book reported our expectations that the used-market values for Full-size Trucks and Full-size Vans would show the strongest stability and strength in vehicle values in order to meet the vehicle replacement and rebuilding needs of the damaged east coast areas," Beggs said. "These three segment types have been drivers of more stable truck segment changes, and especially so this past week with their positive segment changes. The Full-size Pickups at +$4 was a minor level as compared to the Full-size Cargo Vans at +$261 and the Full-size Passenger Wagons at +$266. This is now 2 consecutive weeks of positive changes for the cargo vans and 3 consecutive weeks of increase for the passenger wagon versions."

Added to these three positive trending segments were four segments that declined $26 or less, making half of all 14 truck segments with a less that quarter of 1 percent (-.22%) weekly decline.