Minivan resale values have softened considerably in the May and June timeframe, dropping as much as 8 to 10 percent lower than comparable sales the same time last year, said Darrin Aiken, assistant vice president vehicle remarketing for Wheels Inc., a fleet management company in Des Plaines, IL. "The exceptions are in the Midwest and the West Coast, but everywhere else minivan values are down substantially," said Aiken. Normally, the summer is when minivan values are at their highest. However, current economic conditions and excess inventory in certain regions of the country are contributing to the softening in wholesale prices, said Aiken. Cargo vans continue to be immune to the downturn in minivans. Fleet sedans, such as the Taurus, Intrepid, Grand Prix, and Impala, are bringing good money at auctions. "The Impala is doing well because it was an all-new model in 2000 and it is just now starting to enter the wholesale market in volume," added Aiken. Another factor benefiting commercial fleet sedans is the decreased inventory of rent-a-car consignments at auctions; however, Aiken expresses concern about the upcoming volume of retail off-lease vehicles hitting the auction lanes, which may detrimentally influence the placement of higher-mileage fleet sedans during a sale. Pickup trucks continue to perform strongly in the wholesale market, especially four-wheel-drive diesels. "These models are as good as gold," said Aiken. Looking ahead to the fall, Aiken foresees a strong seasonal market barring unforeseen heavy incentive spending by the auto manufacturers. Also, the upcoming fall market will see the first large volume returns of the Escape and Liberty, which are expected to generate strong demand among dealers at auction.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials