BLACK BOOK – Wholesale Prices, Week Ending January 8th

The year is starting off with declines in many segments, but it remains to be seen if we reached the peak of increases before the holidays or if we will return to increasing values as the market prepares for spring. Despite winter weather blanketing much of the country in snow, the talk in the industry is what the spring/tax season market will look like this year.

                                             This Week   Last Week     2017-2019 Average (Same Week)

Car segments                           -0.20%        -0.10%           -0.60%

Truck & SUV segments          -0.13%        +0.01%           -0.50%

Market                                    -0.15%       -0.03%           -0.54%

Car Segments

  • On a volume-weighted basis, the overall Car segment decreased -0.20%. For reference, the previous week, cars decreased by -0.10%.
  • All nine Car segments declined last week. This is the first time this has happened since the second week of August 2020.
  • Compact Cars had the largest decline last week, at -0.31%, marking the sixth consecutive week of decreases for an average decline of -0.25%.
  • Mid-Size Cars ended their twenty-week streak of increases with a decline of -0.06% last week.

Truck / SUV Segments

  • The volume-weighted, overall Truck segment decreased -0.13%, compared to the prior week’s increase of +0.01%.
  • Seven out of the thirteen Truck segments reported declines.
  • Compact Crossovers had the largest decline last week, at -0.41%, marking the fourth consecutive decline for the segment.
  • Full-Size Vans reported another week of gains, increasing +0.40%. This now marks the forty-ninth increase in the last fifty weeks.
  • The other two van segments, Compact and Minivan, also reported increases of +0.80% and +0.10%, respectively.

Weekly Wholesale Index

Calendar year 2020 and 2021 ended with used wholesale prices at elevated levels. With economic patterns (including the automotive market) driven by the pandemic, normal seasonal patterns (e.g., 2019 calendar year) in the wholesale market were not observed for most of the year. We saw a similar picture in 2009, at the end of the Great Recession. Calendar year 2021 did not have typical seasonality patterns as the market has had rapid increases in wholesale values for the majority of the year, and the Wholesale Weekly Price Index reached the highest point of the year at the end of December, reporting at over 1.51 points. Now in calendar year 2022, the index has been reverted back to the 1.00 mark.

The graph below looks at trends in wholesale prices of 2-6-year-old vehicles, indexed to the first week of the year.

Retail (Used and New) Insights

  • According to estimates by AutoForecast Solutions, production cuts are expected this year due to the global semiconductor chip shortage, but those cuts will be less than 2021 production cuts. In 2021, approximately 10.2 million vehicles were cut from production plans with North America, accounting for more than 3.1 million vehicle cuts.
  • BMW captured the US luxury sales crown for the third consecutive year.
  • Tesla announced that their advanced driver assistance software “Full Self Driving” will increase in price by 20%, up to $12,000 from $10,000 beginning this month.
  • Toyota teases a GR GT3, racing concept car, ahead of the Tokyo Auto Salon this week.

Used Retail Prices

With the proliferation of ‘no-haggle pricing’ for used-vehicle retailing, asking prices accurately measure trends in the retail space. Retail demand slowed down at the end of 2020, and thus resulted in declining retail asking prices for the last several weeks of the year. As demand rebounded, retail prices lagged slightly behind wholesale prices, but March had an accelerated growth in retail prices. In April and May, retail prices picked up speed as demand accelerated, fueled by stimulus payments, tax season, and shortages of new inventory. During the third quarter, retail prices continued to rise at a slower rate but soon picked up the pace once again to start the fourth quarter. In Q4, prices on retail listings steadily increased week after week. As 2021 came to an end, the retail listing price index closed 36% above where the year began. The scarcity of both new and used inventory in the market continued to fuel these consistent increases in the first two weeks of 2022, but at a slower rate.

This analysis is based on approximately two million vehicles listed for sale on U.S. dealer lots. The graph below looks at 2-6-year-old vehicles.

Inventory

Used Retail

Used retail listings started off calendar year 2022 similar to calendar year 2021, with further declining used retail listings. With some forecasted improvements on the semiconductor front, hopefully the listings will increase as we go into the spring market.

Days-to-turn for used retail listings slightly increased over the last few months of 2021. Now in 2022, days-to-turn sits just above 38 days.

Wholesale

The new year started with some positive movement in the auction lanes, as buyers fill the lanes to buy inventory to prepare for the upcoming spring market. More inventory seems to be coming through, but floor prices remain higher than usual with scarcity of both new and used vehicles continuing to plague the automotive industry.

The weekly estimated average sales rate dropped dramatically at the end of calendar year 2021, to 60%, and has now increased slightly to 62%.

Originally posted on F&I and Showroom

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