Sales of certified used vehicles fell 10 percent last year, to 1,528,487 units. The drop followed seven years of solid growth. But certified sales though July this year rebounded 1 percent to 953,764 from the same period last year.
Analysts predict full-year sales will be flat or slightly higher than in 2009.
Automotive News' annual Guide to Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Programs accompanies this week's issue. The guide examines a segment of the retail market that is increasingly important to dealers and automakers.
As used-vehicle sales gathered steam this year, automakers took notice and began to reach out to certified used-vehicle customers, says Joe Spina, senior remarketing manager at Edmunds.com. They view certified customers as future new-car customers and don't want to miss the opportunity to build relationships with them, he says.
"I think that is even truer now," he says, "because a lot of people buying certified cars are new-car customers who, because of the economy, are looking to save a little money."