September's used-vehicle prices offer further evidence that the market for big SUVs is tanking.
At the same time, wholesale prices of used cars rose last month. That suggests used-vehicle buyers remain sensitive to rising gasoline prices.
The average wholesale price of used vehicles last month was $9,101, ADESA Inc. reports. That was 0.5 percent more than in September 2004 but 0.2 percent less than in August.
The Manheim used-vehicle index, which measures the monthly changes in the value of used vehicles, rose to 110.9 in September, up 4.3 percent from the year-ago level. Manheim's index began at a base of 100 in January 1995. It takes into account factors such as season, mileage, market segment and model mix.
The average wholesale price of used cars in September was $8,500, ADESA says. That was 6.9 percent more than in September 2004 and 2.0 percent more than in August.
Wholesale prices of large SUVs fell sharply in September, compared with the year-ago month and August. The average price of large used SUVs was $12,147 in September. That was 13.1 percent below the average price in September 2004 and 7.5 percent below August.
Tom Kontos, ADESA's vice president of industry relations and analytical services, told Automotive News he expects prices of large used SUVs to continue to drop. The popularity of big SUVs had started to wane even before Hurricane Katrina helped send gasoline prices soaring, Kontos says.
In addition, a large number of big SUVs sold over the past few years are entering the used-vehicle market, he says. That will help keep prices soft "for quite some time," Kontos says.
In an online commentary, Manheim chief economist Tom Webb says rising energy costs and record credit card delinquencies could depress used-vehicle prices in coming weeks.
You may e-mail Arlena Sawyers at