BANDON, Ore. — CNW Research reported this week that January used-vehicle sales rose 2% from a year ago to 2.38 million, with franchised dealers realizing the biggest sales increase.

Compared to a year ago, used-vehicle sales for franchised dealers rose 4.63%, while sales for independent dealers slipped 1.86%. Private sales were up 3.42% from a year ago.

“Transaction prices for franchised dealers’ used-car operations saw a significant increase in January, climbing more than 27% vs. a year ago and 3.34% vs. December 2014,” the market research firm noted. “The vast bulk of the gain can be traced to higher CPO sales and a growing inventory of fresh off-lease vehicles.”

Transaction prices also rose for independent dealers, climbing 13.4% from a year and 3.2% vs. December. “Much like franchised dealers, the trickle down of decent used vehicles reached independent dealer lots,” the firm said.

The total value of used cars sold in January topped $26.8 billion, a 22.6% increase from a year ago.

“Not surprising, fewer people visited dealership used-car lots in January than in December — off nearly 30% …,” CNW noted.

Purchases of passenger cars slipped 6.2% from a year ago and 2.6% from December, while used-truck sales rose 5.7% from a year ago and 2.23% from December, according to CNW.

“Consumers continue shopping outside of their local markets in growing numbers, hunting the best deals and specific vehicles using the Internet …,” CNW pointed out. “The number of [purchases] outside their market rose by more than 12% versus one year ago.”

Additionally, more than 200,000 used-car buyers had a preapproved loan compared to 175,000 a year ago, a gain of 14%, according to the research firm. “Fully, 8.42% of sales were to customers with a preapproved auto loan,” CNW noted.

The number of subprime buyers also rose, increasing 14.32% from a year ago. Customers in the deep subprime category (buyers with sub-550 FICO scores) increased 7.8%. They accounted for nearly 22% of total used-car sales in January.

Originally posted on F&I and Showroom