Sales and prices of used vehicles are expected to inch upward this year, especially in the second half. But remarketing profits will languish, industry analysts predict.
Traditionally, used-vehicle sales rise when new-vehicle sales dip and vice versa, says Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research in Bandon, Ore. But 2008 — which included volatile gasoline prices, a home mortgage meltdown, a frozen credit market and an auto industry bailout — was hardly a typical year, Spinella notes.
Used-vehicle sales plummeted along with new-vehicle sales last year. Spinella estimates U.S. consumers bought about 36.7 million used cars and trucks in 2008, down 11.2 percent from 2007. This year, he forecasts used-vehicle sales will rebound to about 38.5 million units, a 4.9 percent increase.
Tom Kontos, executive vice president of customer strategies and analytics at the auction company ADESA Inc., predicts that franchised and used-car dealers will sell about 26 million used vehicles this year, up from about 25 million in 2008.
"We will continue to see weak retail sales of used vehicles in the first half of 2009," Kontos told Automotive News. "But I expect a stronger second half, so for the year as a whole, we will be modestly up."