The major vehicle market segments saw seasonally adjusted prices that were lower year over year in November compared to November 2022.  -  Graphic: Cox Automotive

The major vehicle market segments saw seasonally adjusted prices that were lower year over year in November compared to November 2022.

Graphic: Cox Automotive

Wholesale used-vehicle prices (on a mix, mileage, and seasonally adjusted basis) decreased 2.1% in November from October, according to the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index (MUVVI), which dropped to 205, down 5.8% from a year ago, Cox Automotive reported Dec. 7.

“While November’s decline was only slightly less than October’s, the move lower was on our radar, given the typical seasonal downward trend that paused in August and September,” said Chris Frey, senior manager of economic and industry Insights for Cox Automotive, in a news release. “Prices still have a chance of rising slightly in December, though we’re not predicting an odd spike or trough. Rather, we’re expecting a measured movement through the end of the month and the year, which should get us close to the January forecast for a 4% year-over-year decline by December 2023. We’ll share our 2024 forecast during our January 8 call, but current views suggest less of a roller coaster in the new year.” 

The seasonal adjustment reduced the November decrease. The non-adjusted price in November declined by 2.9% compared to October, moving the unadjusted average price down 7.5% year over year.

In November, Manheim Market Report (MMR) values saw above-average weekly declines that steadily declined and approached normal levels of decline for the time of year. Over the last four weeks, the Three-Year-Old Index fell an aggregate of 1.7%. Those same four weeks delivered an average decline of 1.2% between 2014 and 2019. During November, daily MMR Retention, which is the average difference in price relative to the current MMR, averaged 98.7%, meaning market prices were below MMR values. The average daily sales conversion rate was steady at 52.3%, which indicates that demand was stable and relatively strong for the time of year. For comparison, the daily sales conversion rate averaged 50.8% in November 2019.

The major market segments saw seasonally adjusted prices that were lower year over year in November compared to November 2022:

  • Pickups and SUVs again lost less than the industry, down 4.6% and 5.4%, respectively.
  • Compact cars remained the worst performers year over year, down 11.3%
  • Midsize cars lost 8.3%; vans, down 6.4%; and luxury, off by 6.3%.
  • Compared to last month, compact cars lost less than the industry at 2%, while luxury surprised with a 0.1% gain.
  • Pickups declined by 3.2%, midsize cars were down 2.4%, SUVs were off 2.3%, and vans lost 2.1%, flat versus the industry.

Used Retail Vehicle Sales Decreased in November

Assessing retail vehicle sales based on observed changes in advertised units tracked by vAuto, Cox estimates that used-vehicle retail sales in November were down 7% compared to October, and the year-over-year comparison with 2022 worsened again. Used retail sales are estimated to be down 2% year over year in November. The average retail listing price for a used vehicle declined 0.5% over the last four weeks.

Using estimates of used retail days’ supply based on vAuto data, an initial assessment indicates November ended at 50 days’ supply, down three days from 53 days at the end of October and five days lower than how November 2022 ended at 55 days. Leveraging Manheim sales and inventory data, wholesale supply is estimated to have finished November at 29 days’ supply, up two days from the end of October and down one day from November 2022’s estimate of 30 days.

November’s total new-light-vehicle sales were up 7.3% year over year, with the same number of selling days as November 2022. By volume, November new-vehicle sales were up 1.9% month over month. The November sales pace, or seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), came in at 15.3 million, an increase of 7.4% from last year’s 14.3 million and down 0.7% from October’s revised 15.4 million pace.

Combined sales into large rental, commercial, and government fleets decreased 8.9% year over year in November. Sales into rental fleets were up 1.2% year over year, sales into commercial fleets were down 22%, and sales into government fleets were up 8%. Including an estimate for fleet deliveries into dealer and manufacturer channels, the remaining retail sales were estimated to be up 10.2% from last year, leading to an estimated retail SAAR of 13.0 million, up 1.1 million from last year’s 11.9 million pace but down slightly from October’s 13.4 million pace. Fleet market share was estimated to be 14.7%, down from last year’s 16.9% share.

Rental Risk and Mileage Dropped Significantly in November

The average price for rental risk units sold at auction in November declined 4.6% year over year. Rental risk prices also decreased by 3.0% compared to October. Average mileage for rental risk units in November (at 46,900 miles) was down 13.2% compared to a year ago and down 7.1% from October.

Measures of Consumer Confidence Saw Mixed Trends in November

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased by 2.9% in November, as future expectations improved by 7% and drove most of the increase. Consumer confidence was up 0.6% year over year. Plans to purchase a vehicle in the next six months increased and were up year over year. The confidence index did not fall as much during the pandemic as the sentiment index from the University of Michigan. Both series declined between July and November, and the Michigan index declined another 3.9% in November. However, that index ended November up 1.5% from the midmonth reading. The final index number for the month was up 8.1% year over year. Consumer expectations for inflation increased, with median expectations for inflation over the next year at the highest level since April. The consumer’s view of buying conditions for vehicles declined slightly as views of prices were less negative, but views of interest rates deteriorated.

The daily index of consumer sentiment from Morning Consult measured only a small change in November, as the index increased 0.1% from the end of October.

Gas prices declined further in November. According to AAA, the national average price for unleaded gas fell 6.2% to $3.25 per gallon as of Nov. 30, which was down 6% year over year and was the lowest average price since early January.

 

 

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