Wholesale used-vehicle prices in the United States have rebounded almost to the level they were prior to the terrorist attacks last September.
The average used-vehicle price in April was $11,028, down 1.3 percent from the average price of $11,178 in April last year. The average price in October 2001 was $10,302, down 5.2 percent from the $10,865 average in October 2000.
The upshot is that the glut of used vehicles that flooded the U.S. market last October and November has leveled off, but prices still are being pressured by the same things that depressed them prior to the September attacks: high volumes of off-lease vehicles and plentiful new-vehicle incentives.
"Rental car returns and 0 percent financing generated a lot of used cars; we had more cars than we had buyers, said Tom Kontos, vice president of industry relations and analytical services at ADESA Corp. in Indianapolis. "The market took a nosedive. The conclusion is that the worst of the situation is over."
Kontos is the author of "Pulse," a quarterly report by ADESA that tracks the economic health of the retail and wholesale used-vehicle industry in the United States and Canada.
Pulse data includes average transaction prices of vehicles seven model years old and newer.
The prices of retired rental cars, which include program cars purchased and remarketed by manufacturers and risk vehicles that rental car companies remarket themselves, were impacted severely last fall.
Because fewer people traveled by plane, the demand for rental vehicles at airports plunged, and many rental car companies reduced their fleets earlier than anticipated.
Prices for those vehicles have rebounded and exceed the year-ago level, Kontos said.