Tom Kontos, KAR economist, reported strong wholesale sales of fleet vehicles in April.
 - Photo via J.J. Kane.

Tom Kontos, KAR economist, reported strong wholesale sales of fleet vehicles in April.

Photo via J.J. Kane.

Used vehicles from fleet consignors in ADESA sales increased 4.3% to $13,771 in April compared to March, and were up 4.4% from a year ago, according to monthly commentary from Tom Kontos.

Former fleet vehicles continue to outperform manufacturer and dealer vehicles in the wholesale market in physical and online auctions, according to Kontos, chief economist for KAR Auction Services. In April, OEM vehicles increased 2.9% from March and 1.6% from April 2018. Dealer vehicles increased 3.6% from March and 3.8% from the year earlier.

April represented the peak of the tax refund-driven selling season, Kontos said.

"The spring-tax season market reached full bloom in April, as average wholesale prices reached what will likely be peak or near-peak levels for the year based on historical seasonal trends," Kontos wrote. "Car prices moved in parity with truck prices overall on a month-over-month basis and showed particular strength in the off-lease segment at physical auctions."

The used fleet market again outperformed the market at large, as overall wholesale used vehicle prices averaged $11,489, which was a 3.6% increase from March and 3.4% increase from April 2018.

Typical fleet segments such as midsize cars and midsize SUVs showed differing results, as the former increased 4.5% to $12,648, while SUVs and crossovers fell 1.3% to $20,902. Fleet lease sales of these vehicles are measured as three-year-old units with between 36,000 and 45,000 miles, according to Kontos.

Based on Edmunds data, retail used vehicle sales by franchised dealers were up 3.8% year-over-year in April and 2.4% year-to-date. April certified pre-owned sales were down 12.6% from the prior month's record levels but up 1.3% year-over-year, according to figures from Autodata. On a year-to-date basis, CPO sales are up 1.7% versus last year, Kontos wrote.

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