Prices of used SUVs, crossovers surge 30%

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Hed: Prices of used SUVs, crossovers surge 30 percent from last year

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asawyers@crain.com

Some used SUVs and crossover vehicles are selling at retail for 30cq percent more than they did last year, in a sign of how high used-vehicle prices remain. But on average, prices of used vehicles retreated again in July from record levels this spring.

Edmunds.com reports that the retail price paid for a used Cadillac Escalade, averaged over all model years, was $34,715cq last month, up 36cq percent from the average price paid a year earlier. The retail price paid for a used Dodge Grand Caravan in July, averaged over all model years, was $15,629cq, up 34cq percent.

Joe Spinacq, Edmunds.com senior analyst, says a lack of confidence in the economy is driving more people to buy used vehicles. That puts upward pressure on prices of an already limited supply of used vehicles.

"This time last year, consumers were buying fuel-efficient vehicles and trading so-called gas guzzlers," Spina says. "Now, those who need trucks and large SUVs are buying them, but the inventory is low because there is a current shortage of lease returns and trade-ins of this vehicle type.

"Prices are indeed very high now. While this is the case, last year's prices were low, making the gains even more dramatic," he says.

Even so, data from Manheim and ADESA Inc. show that wholesale used-vehicle prices in July declined from record high price levels this spring. April and May

The average wholesale used-vehicle price in July was $10,060cq, ADESA says. That was 2.2cq percent lower than the average price in June 2010cq and less than 1 0.4cq percent higher than the average price in July 2009cq.

The monthly Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index stood at 118.9cq in July, down from 120.2cq in the previous month but up from 115.4cq in July 2009cq. The index is adjusted for make, model mix and time of year.

You can reach Arlena Sawyers at asawyers@crain.com
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